Trying to differentiate soul food from Southern food shouldn’t be complicated. While not all Southern food is considered soul food, all soul food is definitely Southern.
Soul food is an ethnic cuisine traditionally prepared and eaten by African-Americans in the Southern United States. The expression “soul food” originated in the mid-1960s, when “soul” was a common word used to describe African-American culture. At its core, soul food is basic, down-home cooking that’s been passed down through many generations, with its roots in the rural South.
The staples of soul food cooking are beans, greens, cornmeal (used in cornbread, hush puppies, johnnycakes, and as a coating for fried fish), and pork. Pork has been almost limitless in a number of uses in soul food, from seasoning vegetables and stews to dehydrating and pickling staples like pork rinds and pig feet and ears. (Of course, my smoked meat of choice is turkey—and