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Soul Food

Dusty talks about soul food which is traditional African-American cuisine.

Mike: So Dusty-

Dusty: Uh-huh.

Mike: Tell me a little about - you're from Philadelphia, right?

Dusty: Yeah, yeah.

Mike: Tell me a little bit about - soul food.

Dusty: Okay. So soul food - actually, it comes from the South, and Philadelphia has a lot of great soul food restaurants. What soul food is, most of it comes from back in slave days, you know. Slaves, they can't get the really good cuts of the meat or the good parts. They got the kind of leftovers or the thrown away stuff.

Mike: Right.

Dusty: They had to learn how to make it into something a bit better.

Mike: Right.

Dusty: So it's just kind of good, hearty eating. Most of it is cooked - it's not really the healthiest food - a lot of it is cooked in butter, or fried up in lard.

Mike: Right. So can you give me some examples of like some soul food dishes maybe, and what's inside it?

Dusty: So, of course, the classic ones are things like fried chicken or chitlin. And chitlin is basically like stewed pig intestines of seasoning.

Mike: It's tasty.

Dusty: Yeah. It's not something I like, but some people enjoy it.

Mike: Right.

Dusty: And then, there's also things like collard greens, yams, mashed potatoes - a lot of things you see all the time - biscuits. These are all things that are like soul food.

Mike: Just curious, does it differ by region? Like for example, you're from Philadelphia, which is further north. Do you get different types of soul food if you go like further towards the south, like the Cajun parts, let's say Louisiana or something?

Dusty: Well, Cajun food's a bit different, but as you travel down south, you start seeing differences. Like where I was from in the States, we almost never had chitlins in the north, because it was just something that wasn't very appetizing. Or chicken feet is another one, pig's feet - food like that just wasn't as popular. But as you go down south, you get back to the roots of it more, and so you start finding more restaurants that sell these kinds of things.

Mike: Interesting.

Dusty: Yeah. I still can't eat it. It's horrible, but--

Mike: Interesting. So is there a particular favorite kind of soul food dish that you like?

Dusty: Oh, I still love collard greens. One of the things that when I was younger, I didn't like them so much; as I got older, I enjoyed them. It's almost like a kind of spinach basically.

Mike: Okay.

Dusty: But it's kind of a bit more flavored and spicier.

Mike: Wow.

Dusty: Yeah. And macaroni and cheese I love, of course.

Mike: Wow! Right on.

Learn Vocabulary from the Lesson

soul food


Soul food comes from the south..

Soul food is popular among African Americans in the southern US.  Notice the following:

  1. The term soul food bacame popular in the mid-1960s.
  2. Are there any soul food restaurants in your city?

slave days


Back in the slave days..

The slave days in the US lasted from 1619-1865,  when Africans were enslaved as a source of free labor.  Notice the following:

  1. The slave days are sad part of American  history.
  2. The slave days ended soon after the Civil War.



It's good, hearty eating.

A hearty meal is large and filling. Notice the following:

  1. I come from a family of hearty eaters.
  2. Wow, That was a hearty dinner!



It wasn't very appetizing.

Food that is appetizing is delicious.  Notice the following:

  1. Healthy food's just not appetizing for me.
  2. The steak sounds appetizing.  I think I'll order it.

flavored and spicier


I like things a bit more flavored and spicier.

Food that is flavored and spicy has a strong taste.  Notice the following:

  1. Thai food is very flavored and spicy.
  2. Asian food is a a lot more flavored and spicier than western food.

Vocabulary Quiz

soul food • slave days • hearty
appetizing • flavored
  1. There are many items on the menu that make my mouth water.
  2. She knows how to cook real .
  3. Life must have been very difficult for them during the .
  4. Thank you very much for that meal.
  5. I'm not really into artificially foods.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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