We never called my mother's cooking "soul food" when growing up. It was just what we ate, though perhaps our menu wasn't quite the same as in other black families. We had the fried chicken, we had the collard greens, we had the corn bread, but we had other kinds of food too. For instance, I remember some Sundays when my father would simply buy a pizza pie from our favorite pizza joint on Junction Boulevard, along with a dozen Dunkin Donuts, but that was an occasional treat. Both my parents grew up in the south, so I have no doubt that they were familiar with the phrase, but while we did eat together (though not all the time, I admit), we didn't necessarily need dinner or any particular meal to get together and talk. That was just us, though.
|Director Byron Hurt (taken at the |
'Middle of Nowhere' screening)
Hurt goes all over not just the American south, but across the country, talking to all kinds of people, black and white, who love soul food, and asking why. In interviews with health experts and other scholars, he traces the roots of the cuisine back to the slavery era, and shows how cooking soul food grew to become a point of pride in many black communities, eventually spreading out towards the rest of the country as well. In the after-show Q-and-A, Hurt made the point of how throughout it all, he wanted to maintain respect for the people who make and eat soul food, without judgment. It's full of laughter and poignancy, and the story of Hurt's father makes it all the more intriguing to watch.
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