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True Definition of ‘Soul Food’ Brings Awareness during Black History Month

Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement Hosts Soul Food Luncheon

By Kirsten Faulkner

A Soul Food Luncheon, sponsored by the Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement, was held in the Marketplace at the Residential College in honor of Black History Month on Feb. 13, and provided more than delicious food.

“We were pleased with the outcome of the fourth annual Soul Food Luncheon,” said Shawnboda Mead, director of the CICCE. “In addition to enjoying tasty soul food, the audience learned about the rich history of soul food in the black community. Everyone also had a chance to share personal stories of what soul food has meant for their families.”

Fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and turkey and dressing were among the traditional dishes served at the luncheon. The Marketplace at the RC staff prepared all food served at the event.

“The goal of this event is to explain where the term ‘soul food’ originated from,” said Alexandria White, assistant director of the CICCE.

“Soul food is a term used for an ethnic cuisine traditionally prepared by African-Americans typically in the South,” said White, who was also the guest speaker. “The term soul food didn’t become common until the 1960s with the rise of the civil rights and black nationalism movements.

“Many African-Americans sought to reclaim our culture. Many recognized in mainstream America the culinary, cultural and marketing appeal of soul food, and simply thought of it as a new label for the very best home cooking passed down. However, black power advocates, who sought to unify African-Americans across geography and various experiences with oppression, saw soul food as a way to connect our community.”

About 60 people, including UM students, faculty and members of the local community, attended the Soul Food Luncheon.

“I attended the luncheon to celebrate the foodways and food practices in the black community,” said Brittany Brown, a sophomore broadcast journalism major from Quitman, Mississippi. “I got to (experience) fellowship with classmates and professors that attended the luncheon and learn about the history of soul food and its roots. I really like all food, honestly. I love cheese, so I’d say the macaroni and cheese is my favorite. It reminds me of how my grandma cooks it.”

“I attended the luncheon because Ms. Alex White is such a great speaker,” said Andre’ Smith, a sophomore biology major from Tylertown, Mississippi. “Through her speech, I learned about a few soul food history facts that I did not know. Additionally, I was able to socialize with my friends while eating good food. I absolutely loved the macaroni and cheese because I love pasta and cheese — best combination!”

Kirsten Faulkner is a broadcast journalism major and social media ambassador at the University of Mississippi.

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