National Soul Food Month

Technically speaking, soul food is an ethnic cuisine that has been historically prepared and eaten by African Americans, particularly in the Southern U.S. The name “soul food” began during the mid-1960s, and it has been the chosen nomenclature for this cuisine ever since.

Some of the dishes that are often served in soul food cuisine include fried chicken, fried fish or pork, black-eyed peas, macaroni and cheese, stewed greens (mustard, turnip, or collard greens usually), cornbread, and some sort of dessert (typically sweet potato pie, peach cobbler, pound cake, or banana pudding).

Of course, that is only an introductory sampling of some typical soul food dishes. The average person can discover or celebrate the rest of them by observing National Soul Food Month in June.

The History of National Soul Food Month

National Soul Food Month has been observed for over 20 years now. It was created by Charla Draper in 2001. Charla L. Draper is a food expert and writer who realized that traditional soul foods deserved to be celebrated and to be included as a part of American culinary tradition. Thankfully, her efforts have allowed more people to discover and celebrate soul food than ever before.

Interesting Facts About Soul Food

For anyone and everyone who is interested in soul food, we wanted to take a few moments and list some of the facts that we learned about this distinctly American cuisine. We think the following facts will prove to be educational even to people who have been enjoying soul food their entire lives. We dug into the history of this cuisine and emerged with some pretty interesting, but sometimes obscure, facts.

  • The term “Soul Food” was first coined in print in 1964.
  • The origins of soul food recipes can be traced to West African and European cuisines.
  • During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, slaves were given cornmeal and pork each week to live on. That’s why BBQ ribs, cornbread, and neck bones became a central part of the cuisine.
  • Enslaved Africans also ate purslane, collards, dandelions, and sweet potatoes for quite many years.
  • Native American influences can also be seen in soul food cuisine as well.

Observing National Soul Food Month

This is the perfect month for people to enjoy soul food history and culture. It’s a time to try out new dishes or to visit new soul food restaurants. It’s also a good time for people to spread their love of soul food all over the world using the hashtag #NationalSoulFoodMonth.

When is it?
This year (2024)
June 1 Saturday
Next year (2025)
June 1 Sunday
Last year (2023)
June 1 Thursday
Food & Drinks