African American Contributions to the Culinary Arts – Part 1

“History is the guardian of fact” One should always be careful with the facts less you reside on the wrong side of History. FACT: Soul Food is ‘Authentic American Food’ and it was created by African Americans. It is more American than Baseball and Apple Pie. Make no mistake; anyone cooking Food created by African American’s and calling it anything other than Soul Food is confused about history, origin and are ill-informed about who has created and prepared this food for centuries.

Soul Food Defined

  • Soul Food is a combination of foods harvested from American soil
  • Fish and crustaceans caught in North American waterways
  • Foods hunted and trapped in Americas woods and forests
  • Locally grown herbs and spices
  • Proverbial provisions from Africa
  • Grains and spices introduced by Native Americans
  • Foods introduced to African Americans by Europeans
  • Cooking styles and techniques from Africa
  • Cooking techniques formed in the Americas
  • New Foods and new cuts of meats
  • Herbs and Spices from around the World

Collectively, all of these components have fashioned what the World reverences today as Soul Food. Soul Food is a combination of all these things. These combinations of food stuffs were taken and artistically modified to meet the specifications of a more urbane African American pallet.

For over three Hundred years these compilations of foods, herbs and spices were taken into the Planters kitchens and prepared by African Americans. In these very kitchens is where miracles happened and where America’s priceless culinary masterpieces were created.

The following is a partial list of some Classic Soul Food Dishes.

  • Barbeque Ribs, Fried Chicken, Smothered Chicken, Barbeque Chicken, Stewed Chicken, Fried Fish, Chicken Fried Steak, Smothered Steak, Crab Cakes, Smothered Pork Chops, Chicken and Dumplings, Oxtails, Fish and Grits, Collard Greens, Mustard Greens, Turnip Greens, kale, Dirty Rice, Okra Perlou, Okra and Tomato’s, Hoppin John, Grits, Grillades, Jambalaya, Gumbo, Beef Stew, Wild Game, Neck Bones, Dressin’, Salmon Croquettes, Trout, Bluegill, Large and Small Mouth Bass, Silver Bass, Catfish, Snapper, Fried corn, Meatloaf, Potato Salad, Cornbread, Hush Puppies, Hoecakes, Corn Pone, Hot Water Cornbread, Spoon Bread, Molasses, Sorghum Syrup, Black Eye Peas, Navy Beans, Crowder Peas, Pole Beans, Butter Beans, String Beans, Smothered Cabbage, Fried Cabbage, Pickled Beets, Hominy, Lima Beans, Baked Beans, Pinto Beans, Red Beans and Rice, Crab Bakes, Succotash, Sweet Potato’s, Candied Yams, Cracklin’, Chow Chow, Apple Butter, Deviled Eggs, Biscuits, Red Eye Gravy, Sausage Gravy, Tomato Gravy, Raisin Gravy, Macaroni and Cheese, Hot Sauce, She-Crab Soup, Catfish Stew, Shrimp Etouffee, Smoked Meats and Fish, Fried Turkey, Ham Hocks, Souse, Head Cheese, Watermelon, Peaches, Pecans, Fruit Punch, Sweet Tea etc.
  • Desserts: Sweet Potato Pie, Pecan Pie, Rhubarb Pie, Lemon Pie, Key Lime Pie, Chess Pie, Buttermilk Pie, Egg Pie, Mud Pie, Banana Pudding, Bread Pudding, Rice Pudding, Pound Cake, Yellow Cake, Jelly Cake, Caramel Cake, 7up Cake, Coconut Cake, Red Velvet Cake, Orange Glaze Cake, Chocolate Cake, Peach Cobbler, Blackberry, Blueberry and Apple Cobblers etc.  That’s just to name a few!  

All of these incredible dishes were created by African Americans and shared with the World. This fact will forever live in History. Any and ALL other claims on these foods is disingenuous. It never happened!

“Those that cook the food the best are the very ones that created it” EW 

"Those that cook the food the best are the very ones that created it"

Chef Emanuel’s ‘AUTHENTIC Barbeque Ribs’

Many understandably want to share in the remarkable genius, stature and proceeds of Soul Food. Yet, some knowingly and deliberately give no credit to those that actually created it!

Television cooking shows should not be your primary source of culinary information. They are not a practicable surrogate for culinary curriculum or historical reference. These shows are produced for entertainment purposes only and should be viewed as such!

Some are quite skilled at camouflaging truth! The mere fact that everyone wants a piece of American Food History is testament to the remarkable genius of Soul Food. Soul Food has influenced foods, cultures, cooking styles and techniques from around the World.

 “Soul Food is to America what a Mother is to a child.”   

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African American Contributions to the Culinary Arts (INTRO)

By Chef Emanuel Washington

The list of Culinary Contributions and achievements by African Americans is staggering. Yet, most of the World doesn’t know it. When we examine the macrocosm of the restaurant industry in America and most cooking shows for that matter, one would think African Americans had nothing to do with food or food history. This is a false narrative. History tells a far different story. It’s time we address this issue.

Throughout this series, we will shine a light on the amazing foods created by African Americans which are enjoyed and revered around the World. This educational journey through American Food History will examine its origins and influences and offer insight into the creative genius and culinary dexterity of the best cooks the World has ever known. So, join me as we follow the food across the Atlantic Ocean through the ‘Middle Passage’, to 1607 Jamestown, Virginia and on to present day.

Soul Food is America’s food and America’s food is Soul Food. It does not matter how many times you stir the pot, it still taste like Soul Food. ‘Soul Food’ and ‘America’ walk hand in hand throughout history and stand side by side in America’s Yearbook. American History, America’s food history and Soul Food are forever inseparable!

The perpetual dissertation of History and Science provides indisputable evidence that: “Soul Food is American Food in its purest form.” It is incumbent upon ALL AMERICAN’S to recognize, understand and accept the true History and culture of our great Nation. It is vital that we preserve and protect our own History.  American History should never be on consignment.

Today American Food History and culture bears similitude to disregarded record. The equilateral reputation of America’s Food (Soul Food) is being challenged right here in America. We must accept this challenge and meet it head on with the compelling testimony of History and Science. The time is ripe to ‘Move’ beyond elementary discourse and inconsequential difference.

“The courage to speak truth over fiction and integrity over duplicity is the boulevard to enduring Peace and Harmony.” As American’s, we must practice what we preach. In many ways ‘Soul Food’ has a remarkably striking resemblance to the lives, reputation, standing, and status of African Americans. Yet the verve of ‘Soul Food’ remains in a class all by itself, on the continent where it was created.

As confusing as it seems, most Americans don’t know what Soul Food is or are confused about what it is. Soul Food represents more than just a food created by American slaves. It symbolizes strength, courage, resilience, valor, fortitude and true grit. It also represents the dreams, ambitions and the unparalleled creative brilliance of an entire culture. Soul Food signifies the very history and foundation of what is present day America.


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Smoked Barbeque Chicken W/Whiskey Barbeque Sauce

Monday Night Football’ just got SOUL. Have some of my ‘Smoked Barbeque Chicken W/Whiskey Barbeque Sauce’. Watch Football like a MAN !!

Photo Smoked BBQ Chicken

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Grilled Stuffed Pork Chops W/Spinach Dressing and Succotash

Soul Food is NOT what most people think it is! Have a plate of my Grilled Stuffed Pork Chops W/Spinach Dressing and Succotash and tell me what time it is.
Photo Grilled Stuffed Pork Chops with spinach Dressing and Succotash

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‘Walnut Crusted Chilean Sea Bass’ W/Vodka Tangerine Sauce

This dish embraces multiple flavors and textures, all of which were designed to kindle the senses and to give your brain multiple Hello’s during the dining experience. HELLO…

Walnut Crusted Chilean Sea bass with Vodka Tangerine Sauce

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Chef Emanuel’s ‘Smoked Chicken w/Roasted Red Bell Salad’

Who said every meal needs a starch? This one is well balanced and BANGIN’ with Flavor.  ‘RE-WRITE THE RULES’…

photo (43) Touch 2

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Chef Emanuel’s Healthy Eating and Wellness Series (Part 2)

*Nutrition and diabetes*

By Contributing Author, Nutritionist and Freelance Writer Lisa Major

People with type 1 diabetes need to watch their sugar intake carefully. Surprisingly, with type 2 diabetes, this is not the case, although a reduction in your sugar intake will help control blood sugar levels and be beneficial.  Many type 2 diabetics prefer a low-carbohydrate diet plan Diabetes and Diet.  This will help in weight loss, which is the main objective for most people with type 2 diabetes. A healthy, balanced diet is low in fat, sugar and salt, with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. However, carbohydrates are also essential for a balanced diet. Processed foods such as white bread, white rice and breakfast cereals will quickly raise your blood sugar levels. These sorts of carbohydrates should be replaced with whole meal bread, beans, peas, vegetables and fresh fruit. Foods such as pizza, doughnuts, cakes and potato chips should be avoided, especially between meals.

Proteins and fats are vital for building cells and maintaining cell function. Fiber helps to move food through the dietary system.  A balance diet will include all of these, together with micronutrients – the vitamins and minerals that are an essential part of a diabetic diet. Certain dietary supplements Diabetes and Dietary Supplements particularly vitamin D, can help in the management of diabetes, as well as herbs and spices such as Aloe Vera, bitter melon, cinnamon, fenugreek and ginger. Saturated fats can spike your blood sugar levels; so foods such as butter, palm oil, lard, cheese, cream and processed meats should be avoided in favor of low cholesterol, unsaturated fats, found in foods such as olive oil, oily fish, peanut butter, almonds and avocados.

*Traditional food culture*

A diet of traditional African-American soul food is well balanced, low in fat and high in fiber. Starchy vegetables such as corn, a variety of beans, fresh or dried peas, and sweet potato are high in protein, particularly when combined with grains, such as rice, grit, cornbread, biscuits, cereals, macaroni and biscuits. Typical healthy recipes include hoppin’ john (rice with black-eyed peas), succotash (corn with lima beans) and red kidney beans with rice.

Buttermilk, which is low in fat and high in micronutrients, is more easily digested than whole milk, which is high in saturated fat. Almond milk is low in calories and free of cholesterol – another good substitute for whole milk. Both are beneficial as part of a diabetic diet. Fried food high in saturated fats should be limited whether you are diabetic or not, particularly if you want to control your weight. This is not to say that they should be cut out altogether – just eat smaller portions, and try grilling instead of frying; bake, broil or steam your fish or chicken, or use unsaturated fats such as olive oil.

Soul food has long been thought of as the ‘anti-diet’ cuisine, but this does not have to be the case. You can easily make low fat versions of all your favorite soul food recipes, and concentrate on the healthy vegetable component. You can eat those crispy crab cakes, collared greens and grits to your heart’s content, without worrying about falling off the healthy-eating wagon.

*Are fast foods a problem?*

Insulin is vital for the metabolism of carbohydrate and fat in the diet and for removing excess glucose from the blood. A diet high in carbohydrate, fat and sugar, as found in fast foods, will stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin to cope with the overload.  Insulin also makes you feel hungry, so you will tend to over-eat. This is the road to obesity. It may be that people living on a fast food diet and who eventually develop type 2 diabetes have helped to bring this about by over-stimulating the production of insulin, of constantly flooding the bloodstream with it to the extent that the system breaks down and their body becomes either insulin resistant or cannot control its production.

The rise in type 2 diabetes amongst African-Americans is greater in women than men Type 2 Diabetes and American Americans;  this can be explained by differences in income and body size. There is a direct correlation between low income and high incidence of the disease, suggesting that poor diet is a major factor. The current huge increase in the incidence of diabetes can only be controlled by each of us looking to our diet and cutting those foods that take us down that road.

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Chef Emanuel’s Healthy Eating and Wellness Series (Part 1)

*Diabetes in the African American Community*

By contributing Author, Nutritionist and Freelance Writer Lisa Major

Compared to the total population of the USA, African Americans Minority Health are twice as likely to develop diabetes – in fact it is one of the most serious health problems that African Americans face today. Good nutrition is a critical part of staying healthy while living with the disease, and balancing carbohydrates, fat, protein and fiber with essential vitamins and minerals, in appetizing recipes  Chef Emanuel’s Recipes using good quality ingredients, will help to maintain your overall health.  Whether a poor diet and low levels of physical activity – a lifestyle often associated with medical problems such as heart disease and obesity – can be blamed for the rise in diabetes among the African-American population is speculation. There does seem to be a causal link between obesity, high blood pressure and increased cholesterol with type 2 diabetes which accounts for ninety percent of diabetes among African Americans, and certainly they are strong risk factors.

Worldwide, diabetes is more common in developing countries, with numbers increasing particularly in Africa and Asia; this seems to have followed the rapid urbanization and changes in lifestyle, including the move to a more ‘western’ diet that includes a higher proportion of red meat and fast food. Again, any causal link is speculative but compelling.

*Complications from diabetes*

For sufferers of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of managing and maintaining long-term health. In both conditions there is too much glucose in the blood because the body cannot use it properly. Alongside symptoms such as tiredness, frequent urination, weight loss and visual problems, most people diagnosed with diabetes also suffer from hair loss; in fact, this may be one of the first symptoms to appear. This is caused by the build up of blood sugar levels, which prevents oxygen from reaching the hair follicles. Propecia is an effective treatment for hair loss, including that caused by diabetes; it is available on prescription for those concerned about hair loss.  Propecia

Diabetes is also the biggest cause of blindness in working age people. Diabetes and Eye Health  Its other complications include heart disease, kidney failure, stroke and nerve damage that can lead to lower limb amputation.

*Genetic factors*

There is a genetic factor in the incidence of childhood type 1 diabetes Diabetes in African Americans, which in the USA is complicated by the mixture of widely differing genetic pools of European, Native American, and a variety of ethnic groups from west and central Africa. When comparing children of European-American and African-American populations, rates are generally higher in the European; but with type 2 diabetes, where there is no genetic factor, there is a marked difference between the two groups, with a much higher incidence in African-American populations.



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Chef Emanuel Washington’s “Honey Citrus Glazed Snapper” w/Roasted Grape Tomato’s and Razor Fennel

“Honey Citrus Glazed Snapper” w/Roasted Grape Tomato’s and Razor Fennel. This dish is brimming with flavor. Its Perfect with a glass of Louis Bouillot Cremant de Bourgogne “Perle d’Aurore” Brut Rosé. Have it…

"Honey Citrus Glazed Snapper" w/Roasted Grape Tomato's and Razor Fennel.




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