‘Critical Condition’ Soul Food at the Crossroads! The Series, Part 4

Soul Food’s Reputation/Myths and falsehoods

America is an international metropolis of manifold races, cultures and foods from across
the Globe. Since its inauguration, it has served as a safe haven and destination
central to the majority of the World. America is a nation with a very rich and
unquestionable history. It is one of Power, Forte, unfettered creativity,
abundant intellectual capital, immense riches and artistic superiority. However,
during life’s sequence of global matriculation: Somewhere along the way ‘Real
American History’ seemingly got caught in a global cultural crossfire between human
progress, pragmatic truth and history’s intention.


Soul Food has inherited a reputation for being unhealthy. Soul Food restaurants have been affected in a big way by this bogus negative press. People that know absolutely
nothing about the food or the culture are bumping their gums on the topic. These
lies are having an impact on Soul Food as a whole. Patronage at Soul Food restaurants has been affected. Many people including some African Americans have bought this line. It is NOT true! Many people like to pretend they are current or in the Now, when in fact they are not. Don’t believe everything you see and don’t repeat everything you hear.
“A busy mouth with no knowledge or fact is the single instrument of a fool”

“America was burped and breast fed by Soul Food”. It does not matter who you are. If your family lineage pre-dates the civil War in America; your ancestors lived it, ate it, and loved it and so do you.  Soul Food has nourished the bodies, minds and Souls of America for over 405 years. Several generations of Americans were raised on it and nurtured by it. So tell me, what’s wrong with it now?

About twelve years ago my Grandmother asked me a very poignant question. She said; Emanuel, what’s all this talk I’m hearing about Soul Food being unhealthy? She went on
to say; Let me tell you something: “most of your ancestors lived into they were
well into their nineties and many lived to be over one hundred years of age and
all they ate was Soul Food. How can it be good for them and bad for us? She
then said, if it doesn’t smell right, don’t buy it!

‘Check the Facts Jack’

It’s time we set the record straight. “Soul Food may well be the Healthiest Food on the Planet” It is far healthier than Italian, Mexican, French and Chinese foods. Any claim to the contrary is simply self-motivated high tech non-sense. I have all the proof in the World. I will debate anyone in the World, anywhere, at any time on this subject. Come and claim your ‘Fool’s Gold’!

Do you know how many calories, Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium there is in Chicken Parmesan, Lasagna, Baked Ziti, Chicken Marsala, Shrimp Scampi, Calzone, Fettuccini Alfredo and Pizza? Fact: These are amongst the unhealthiest dishes you will find anywhere. This stuff is a heart attack on a plate. Don’t be lured by fancy names and titles. There is no new in the restaurant industry. It’s just the old with a new face and marketing attached. For detailed information on all of these foods, get a copy of my new cookbook; Soul Food 10.0The Next Generation of Soul Food’.    

Question: Why is NO one talking about the health benefits or the lack thereof of foods from these other erroneously glorified food cultures? What’s the flow? It’s time to have that conversation! I’ve pitted Soul Food head to head against each of these food cultures. I
compared the Calories, Cholesterol, Fat and Sodium levels in all of the most
popular dishes in each culture. The nutritional comparisons are frightening. When
comparing the overall nutritional benefit, Soul Food blows the roof off of all
of these food cultures and then some. Soul Food is by far healthier than all of

Why isn’t anyone talking about that?  Am I the only one that knows it? I strongly doubt it. Think! When we know our own History and the facts about it, we control the Intel, we set the tempo; we determine its direction and safeguard its reputation. Outsiders lie in wait for the opportunity to capitalize on the creative genius of our ancestors. If we don’t want it, they are all too happy to claim it. That is what’s happening to Soul Food. Bet
the Baby on it!

Understand something: “Soul Food is far more than a food. It represents the prayers, dreams, ambitions, pains, struggles, intestinal fortitude, True Grit and indisputable creative brilliance of an entire culture”. American History and Soul Food History are inseparable. You cannot have one without the other. They stand side by side in life’s Yearbook. Soul Food is not for sale or barter and it damn sure isn’t free. The blood runs too deep. That is History’s Testimony!

“Soul Food is one of America’s most valuable assets”

We must preserve and protect American History. Everybody wants it and will implore any
and every tactic to get it, including but not limited to age ole divide and
conquer. How many of you have bought the unhealthy Soul Food rhetoric? How many of you opt for Italian restaurants? Imagine a stranger walking up to you and saying: Hey Gym Shoe; your food is no good for you; your people never really learned how to cook right. Why don’t you come and pay me three times as much to eat mine? Unaware that this is merely peasant food with marketing, you follow the crowd. The old Man always
told me; “know who you are with and know where you’re going before you hop in
the car, because people will take you just about anywhere; always pay attention”!
Some of us just hop in the car and don’t even bother to see who’s driving it, don’t

Theory in action:

Did you know that just about all of the popular chain restaurants in America have Soul Food items on their menus? Let’s break it all the way down! The following chain
restaurants feature Soul Food items on their menus. For their consistent dedication
to the art of deception and for their ineffectual attempts at altering the
course of Soul Food history, they get a big Chef Emanuel Shout Out: Applebee’s, Chili’s, Cheesecake factory, Outback, Houston’s, Ruby Tuesdays, Red Lobster, Cracker Barrel, Boston Market, Golden Corral, IHOP, Friday’s and every other restaurant named after a day of the week all have Soul Food items on their menu’s. This is just a short list.

Dilating Truth:

If Soul Food was so unhealthy, why do all of these major chains sell Soul Food disguised as something else? I think it’s a damn good question, don’t you? Maybe, just maybe
it’s OK to sell Soul Food as long as you don’t call it Soul Food. Hmmm, what’s
the Flow? When you support this level of deception you also contribute to the disenfranchisement of American History and Culture. America is better than that!

Connect the dots. When was the first time, you heard that Soul Food was unhealthy? How long ago was it? What else was happening during that time? Was this just naïve coincidence or was it strategy?  “A fool will believe anything and
repeat everything”.

Soul Food has been criticized for being fatty, salty blah blah. NEWSFLASH: Today top fine dining restaurants in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, DC, and LA etc. have Pork Belly on their menus and it sells at premium prices. Now wait a minute. Isn’t that talking out of both sides of your mouth?

Now is there anyone left on the planet that doesn’t get what’s
happening here? They not only think you’re obtuse, they think you are cast iron
stupid! I’ve built the house. All you have to do is turn the knob and walk
through the door.

Educate your mind:

How much do most people really know about ‘Soul Food anyway”? How much do you know about ‘Soul Food’? Where did this knowledge come from? Was your source one of credible intelligence or was it steeped in cooler conversation and backyard barbeques? Be
careful what you repeat because Lies can affect History.

So tell me, what is ‘Soul Food exactly”? On the birth of America, what food did Americans
eat? Who created it? Who cooked it? What was the origin of these foodstuffs?
What is my last name? “Soul Food is American Food in its purest form”.


As unfair as the current reputation is, we still own it! If Soul Food restaurants are to
overcome this reputation, we must first update our chips. Too many Soul Food restaurants
are stuck in traffic.

  • Soul Food restaurant owners must pool resources to meet this challenge head on
  • Move forward with one positive unified tone
  • Most Soul Food Restaurants are up-to-date but many need to re-tool their businesses. They are affecting the reputation of everyone else
  • Take advantage of intellectual capital
  • Consumer re-education; change consumer mindset by delivering a superior product and telling everyone about it.
  • Expand your market and customer base
  • Marketing: when was the last time you saw an advertisement for a Soul Food restaurant?
  • New breed of ownership; know when it’s time to hand over the reins
  • Recruit and train young African American talent, there is plenty of it available


Chef Emanuel Washington



‘Critical Condition’ Soul Food at The Crossroads The Series Part 5 is entitled ‘Big Mama 101’. You don’t want to miss it!



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3 Responses to ‘Critical Condition’ Soul Food at the Crossroads! The Series, Part 4

  1. Bill says:

    Hello Chef Emanuel,
    Interesting Post, Soul food recipes making a strong comeback? Yes, and not only with African Americans but also with Whites, Latino and other races discovering the deep south inspired menus.

    • Chef Emanuel says:

      Thanks Bill, Yes Soul Food is making a strong comeback. I am pleased to no end. I’ve been beating this old horse for years now. Yes, everyone Loves Soul Food. What’s not to like? The World will soon learn of the overall Creative Brilliance of Soul Food! Stay Tuned for the Grand Opening of the ‘Best Soul Food Restaurant in America’. I will post that information SOON!

  2. Picky Eater says:

    Awesome Post. Tell it like it is and dare those who doubt it to dispute it. All that food filled with cheese cannot be healthy. Almost everyone of those foods contained cheese and pasta or pasta with some kind of creamy sauce, white or red. ALL of these are heart attacks waiting to happen and piles on the daily calories. I agree the next time anyone eats those foods, carve out a bigger space for your sit down parts, because they will be spreading and your heart will hate you!

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