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The Food and The People Have Been Around For How Long?


Commonly published sources insist "Soul Food" is a traditional "African American" cuisine, and that it derived from "enslaved Africans" utilizing left over foods provided by their white European "slave owners". This is a misleading assertion to say the least. Although Europeans arrived with a variety of foods from their homelands, they were exceptionally dependent on the Original People they encountered.


According to Charles Hudson, the indigenous cuisine of North America is "soul food". He states, "To a far greater degree than anyone realizes, "several of the most important food dishes of the Southeastern Indians live on today is the "soul food" eaten by both black and white Southerners". "Soul Food" in this context is defined as the traditional cooking of a specified culture. The specified culture of reference is the Southeastern Original People of North America, today commonly referred to as "Black" or "African American". Marion Gridley said, "Because these Indians lived close to the sea coast, and to the Gulf of Mexico, clams, oysters, and other shellfish formed a staple food...". Today, this staple food is referred to as a seafood boil.


Traditional dishes prior to European contact are still cooked and enjoyed by millions of people today. Meat items such as turkey, rabbit, salmon, opossum or alligator were accompanied by foods such as cornbread, succotash, sweet potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, wild greens, hominy, paw-paw, potatoes, grits, cranberry, and hushpuppies. A familiar combination of the foods listed would be turkey, sweet potatoes, cornbread, cranberry, and wild greens (Thanksgiving ). For hundreds of years, other foods and ingredients like chicken, watermelon, okra, jambalaya, the roux for the famous seafood boil, macaroni, and pork have been infused into the culture of the descendants of the Original People of the southeast.


Mainstream and educational publications (TV shows, movies, books, magazines, etc.) perpetuate the narrative that the ancestors of contemporary Native Americans are the same "Indians" that the Europeans encountered upon their arrival in the southeast of North America. They are not! Food dishes such as shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles, seafood boils, possum n taters, sweet potato pie, and cornbread are distinct to the southeast food culture. These cultural staples have been passed down for generations, and are mainstays in millions of households throughout North America. Descendants of the southeastern tribes/clans that Europeans documented are the groups that are today racially categorized as "Black", "African American" or "of African descent".


QUESTION: Which racial group comes to mind when you think about Soul Food, Crab Boils, Fish Fry's and traditional Thanksgiving? If you said "Black" or "African American" people, then this would imply the ancestors of "Black" or "African American" people are the Southeastern Original People of North America.


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