Soul Food Junkies
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Documentary filmmaker Byron Hurt grew up eating (and cooking with his mom and sister) "soul food" at home. He noted that his father was gaining a lot of weight and looking unhealthy. When his father died because of the unhealthy food he was eating, the younger Hurt set out to discover why black Americans were eating so much of it and where it all began. This 63-minute film gives a cultural history of food in the households of blacks (going back to the days of slavery and plantations). Hurt does visit some renowned soul food restaurants (but doesn't promote them) and interviews a number of "food historians" and "culinary historians". (Who knew such a designation existed???). The best-known interviewee is former comedian, now food activist, Dick Gregory. Hurt, himself, changed his diet and no longer eats red meat. He visits a man known as the "Hip-hop doctor" who explains that collard greens and fried chicken can be made in a healthier way.
I'd recommend this this DVD to those who - like Hurt - want to know where "soul food" started as well as those who love it but want to cut back. The DVD has no bonus features and this is one area where I wish PBS Home Video went an extra step. It would have been nice to include (either as bonus videos, or as an inserted pamphlet) some recipes (probably by the "hip-hop doctor) for healthier prep of the sol food staples. But, it's a start to know that this DVD will be available to watch and share - and should be in every public library's DVD collection.
I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.
I agree with that proposed by one of my eternal favorite comedians/activists Dick Gregory who features largely in this documentary, that this manner of eating and cooking is a type of racism made manifest. The argument goes like this: the black community has to cook the slops and even garbage of the rich white world. While I do not believe an entire documentary knocking the food itself ever makes any sense, I see the vital message because the black community cannot even find the opportunity to open grocery stores.
Hurt knows very well that the answer to the lack of health can be overeating or excessively unhealthy eating--he explores the origins of Southern "soul" food which is, of course, none other than "comfort" food. He gets a few things wrong, but his quest is lofty. He realizes quite early on that his father simply ate way too much of the wrong things. Hurt then began to worry that all of the black community eats this way for the obvious reasons: lack of proper access to good nutrition; lack of fresh produce and any way to produce it; the firm foot that always stands on the black neck.
This is a powerful 55 minutes. I loved Hurt throwing himself back into the middle of Southern hospitality which culminated in him eating some turkey neck and corn.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wanted to know more about soul food and has a lot of very interesting facts including food in urban communities.Published 5 months ago by matthew am
EXCELLENT DOCUMENTARY. REALLY ABLE TO ARTICULATE THE HISTORY AND PITFALLS OF THE SOUL FOOD PHENOMENON. REQUIRED VIEWING FOR ALL PEOPLE.Published on November 21, 2013 by mekap
Soul Food Junkies is a great documentary by Byron Hurt in his quest to understand his father's death. Read morePublished on October 16, 2013 by Jared J