Soul Food is a very old expression in the African-American community.
In running an errand for my neighbor lady I went to the local ethnic grocery store. El Rey is a popular Mexican grocery that is apparently thriving. They’ve remodeled El Rey both inside and out with a new parking lot and entrance. The interior has been rearranged better than ever. It’s clean and bright and showcased quite nicely.
Whenever I go to El Rey (The King) I tend to linger and poke about, looking at this and that, but I’m usually transfixed by the items displayed in the meat aisle. Some of the items are a bit too exotic for my personal tastes – like porcine tripe, chicken livers, cow hooves, pig snouts, cow lips, etc.; and a half pig’s head staring blankly back at me from the cooler (It was, after all, his fate).
While I expect the exotic in any ethnic grocery store, some of it is just over the top, like a package of fresh pork uterus – Whoa!
El Rey proves there is such a thing as Mexican Soul Food.
While African-Americans have their chitlins’s (chitterlings-pig intestines), roadside collard greens, possum, etc.; they may not be aware that Soul Food as a concept is in fact a universal one.
As James A. Michener might say: “The rich man always lives high on the hog and the poor man on the low.” Every ethnic group has its very own Soul Food menu.
How hungry was the first man to eat a raw oyster?
One may define Soul Food as the food of necessity, and surely starts out as such; but over time it becomes a familiar, traditional and comforting delicacy.
Soul Food is the stuff your mom made you eat. You might have turned up your nose at it at the time but the key ingredient was love – not always necessity.
A mother’s love can transform cheap food scraps into something not just palatable but downright and memorably delicious.
One thing I learned from observing my own mother: to bring out the flavor of what ever it is you’re cooking, cook it slow.
Soul Food often triggers nostalgia in older adults. They start to yearn for the very things they often rebelled against or even rejected as a child. Some folks would drive a hundred miles for a taste of good blood & tongue sausage.
It matters not whether you’re from Europe, Asia, Africa, or North or South America. Soul Food is Universal.
For millions and millions of people worldwide, Soul Food constitutes their Daily Bread.
“Give Us, This Day, Our Daily Bread.” – The Lord’s Prayer
Soul Food – Our Daily Bread, humble fare, the food of necessity, nutritional basics that keep Body & Soul together.