“Soul Food Love: Healthy Recipes Inspired by One Hundred Years of Cooking in a Black Family,” by mother and daughter duo Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams, provides a historic overview or “A Tale of a Five Kitchens,” about five generations of women who cooked and ate soul food for survival, comfort, and entertainment. Their kitchens not only held secrets and pain during a time of civil servitude, but these soul food serving stations were enveloped with happiness, celebration, and supper club gatherings. The book content, which includes healthy recipes, is divided into seven categories. One of my favorite categories is the “Sips and Bites,” which offers drinks and appetizers such as Grandma’s Bellini and black-eyed pea hummus.
I found this cookbook to be interesting throughout; however, I wasn't expecting over sixty pages of vignettes. I felt it was a bit too long. Nevertheless, the flow of its contents set the tone for the recipes to come by remixing soul food favorites such as Sinless Sweet Potato Pie and Fiery Green Beans. Readers can browse through the family tree and colorful images to gain insight into what is to come. Each recipe highlights its serving size, including dinner for two and for larger portions. The authors used fruit, vegetables, and seafood to create tasty-looking healthy meals, especially in the chapter for Sides and Salads. Additionally, the Jugged Pear, Sweet Potato Skewers, and Salmon Croquettes looked scrumptious.
The recipes are quick and easy to make. The Food Temptress’ test kitchen tried the New-School “Fruit” Salad. In the book's margin, I wrote that this salad “will be my downfall this summer.” The combination of lemon, olive oil, tomato, avocado, and watermelon complemented each other nicely. This refreshing fruit salad is already my new summertime addiction.
This cookbook strips away layers of history to reveal the evolution of soul food from five different perspectives. It redefines dishes that give black families nourishment instead of pain, freedom instead of bondage, and simplicity instead of complications—the perfect culmination of ingredients for a new generation of cooks. Most importantly, it inspires a new and healthier way to prepare and enjoy soul food.
“Soul Food Love: Healthy Recipes Inspired by One Hundred Years of Cooking in a Black Family” is definitely a book to add your cookbook collection. Enjoy reading an excerpt from the preface or try a few of the recipes such as Spicy Pepper Chicken by going to www.soulfoodlove.com. To purchase the book, head over to Amazon.
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