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Hog and Hominy: Soul Food from Africa to America (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History) Paperback – June 9, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Although the cooking of African Americans did not earn the sobriquet “soul food” until the advent of the Black Power movement of the 1960s, its origins stretch back to the very earliest days of colonial America. To survive, slaves transported from their native lands had to learn to cook with the leftover, less-desirable meats and vegetables that their overlords shunned. They combined these with memories of the foodstuffs of tropical West Africa. From these beginnings came a host of dishes that have become integral components of the larger American tradition. Historian Opie goes back to the sources and traces soul food’s development over the centuries. He shows how Southern slavery, segregation, and the Great Migration to the North’s urban areas all left their distinctive marks on today’s African American cuisine. He concludes that soul food has recently commenced a decline as Caribbean cooking has grown to dominate much of African American culinary practice. --Mark Knoblauch --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

[An] elegant, detailed history... Highly recommended.

(Choice)

Hog and Hominy provides a definitive history of the grand social forces and unforgettable personalities that have revolutionized Africa American cooking since the twilight of the Jim Crow system.

(Andrew Warnes Gastronomica)

Hog and Hominy contributes to understanding the important place of soul food in African American culture and of African American cuisine in the American melting pot.

(Carole Counihan Journal of American Ethnic History)
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Product Details

  • Series: Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (June 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231146396
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231146395
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.6 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #481,824 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Peggy F. Aarlien on November 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
Food scholar Frederick Douglass Opie asserts in Hog and Hominy that soul food is without a doubt an American expression that stems from an amalgamation of the different African foodways and was transported from across Africa to the Americas. Opie meticulously traces the development of the soul food history from its roots, to its re-invention in the 1960s and 1970s, and finally to today's health consciousness that implicates traditional soul food cuisine an unhealthy practice. In so doing, Opie's calls into question the traditional folklore surrounding American soul food and helps the reader understand this apparently "simple concept" of soul food justifiably more as a complex and intriguing "academic field" in food studies.

Hog and Hominy begins with the Atlantic world foodways exchange--yams, rice, stews, fried chicken, cornbread, and the use of fat--between the West African and Iberian cultures that soon finds its way aboard the Portuguese trade ships. Here the book also notes how food is identified with religious observances and special occasions that become later evidenced in American culture. The book then traces the transatlantic foodways to a confluence of Caribbean, British, Native American (especially in Virginia and Carolinas) cultures that influenced the cooking done by enslaved Africans and later freed African American slaves. With the Great Migration, where millions of African Americans left the antebellum plantation world, the book then moves from the South to the North. Here, briefly discussed is the memory of southern roots placed within the parameters of an "endurance foodways" effected from the days of the depression and the Jim Crow culture. The book then diverges into 1960s and 1970s movements where the term "soul food" received its name.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this for my Food and Identity in U. S. History class. It's a brief but informative look on the history of soul food and how it arrived in the colonies from Africa, influencing and being influenced by several ethnic foodways.
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Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this book immensely! I found that it gave excellent detail on the origins of soul food and tied it nicely from colonial America to modern day America. This book filled in the historical holes that I have found in the Food Network, Discovery Channel etc... programs about soul food and Southern cooking.

The book is both a scholarly work as well as an entertaining read. I have no doubt that Dr. Opie will add "Best Selling Author" to his resume of accomplishments.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had a lot of interest in the topic but found the book hard going. In the first half, Opie establishes that Africans were already familiar with American foods like corn and black-eyed peas before the slave trade really got under way. He goes on to cite (I can't say "incorporate") various sources which produce factoids about the slaves' cuisine. The first half of the book reads like a dissertation that has been adapted into a book, common enough in academia.

The book does get interesting in Chapter 7, "The Chitlin Circuit." Here Opie clarifies the origin of the term "soul food" as something that grew out of the civil rights struggle, particularly in the 1960s. Opie acknowledges that the hog jowls, grits, chitlins, greens and so on represent the same food eaten by white southerners, especially poor white southerners. He quotes Amari Baraka, Pearl Bowser and many others to show their effort to claim this cuisine as a central part of African-American culture.

There's a lot of info in this book (although it is too focused on New York City), but the great, sweeping STORY of black people's eating is still waiting for a writer.
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