Top 5 Soul Food Dishes to Serve This Summer

With summer right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about backyard BBQs and what better food is there than traditional American soul food? According to award-winning author, Adrian Miller, American soul food is a “fusion” of cuisines spanning four continents. From North and South America to Western Europe to Africa, the merging of flavors has become a staple, especially in the Southeastern states. Although soul food is said to be distinct from traditional southern fare, there are many shared cooking techniques and ingredients. This is why a great number of people have come to equate Southern cuisine with Afro-American soul food, but there is a distinct difference among true culinary aficionados. Following are five of the top soul food dishes you may wish to serve this summer to the delight of your guests.

1. Fried Chicken

Although you will almost definitely have the grill going with a good old-fashioned rack of ribs, there is nothing like fried chicken to complete a soul food menu. This is perhaps one of the most controversial points in trying to differentiate Southern cuisine from soul food, but according to Miller, fried chicken is indeed the number one soul food of all time.

2. Collard Greens

While just about any greens cooked with salt pork can be considered to be soul food, you will find that collard greens top the list. If you are barbequing out back, simple wheel out the microwave table and give them a good heating before setting them out on the serving table. These need to be steaming hot and if you don’t have a slow cooker you can plug in outdoors, the microwave will do just fine.

3. Sweet Potato Pie

Ah, what anyone wouldn’t do for a nice slice of sweet potato pie with a huge dollop of whip cream! Typically, the same spices are used as in pumpkin pie, but the taste and texture are totally unique. Once you get that first bite of sweet potato pie, you’ll never crave pumpkin pie again. It’s an addicting dessert, to say the least.

4. Peach Cobbler

And, then there is peach cobbler. Although some restaurants serve apple cobbler, if you are going down the soul food route, you must make it peach! Served warm, again where that microwave table comes in handy, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream – there is nothing better this side of heaven.

5. Cornbread

Here is where you can see the influence of Native and South American cuisines at their strongest. For many years, no self-respecting soul food connoisseur would even dream of serving greens or fried chicken without cornbread, and this tradition has largely carried over to this day. Not only does cornbread go with fried chicken but imagine a nice warm slice of cornbread slightly on the sweet side with those baby back ribs. A marriage made in heaven.

These are just a sampling of soul foods you could serve with almost any meat you choose to grill for your summer BBQ. However, if you decide on an indoor soul food feast, you’re good to go. If you’ve never sampled authentic soul food, you are in for the treat of your life, and that’s a promise!


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