The roots of America’s culinary history run deep. Our cuisine is a melting pot of flavors which originate from a broad array of international cultures. Cultures that each have their own stories, struggles and triumphs. Despite our domestic hodgepodge, American food is often reduced to burgers and fries, both of which are incredible, yet neither of which paint the full picture of our culinary history. And though said burgers and fries are definitely a beloved pastime for Americans, in truth they were adopted from Germany and Belgium.
So what is American Cuisine? I’d argue that Soul Food is the true original American Cuisine, which was created by Black slaves. Having been forced to live in a foreign place, they adapted and persevered by combining the flavors from their motherland with the resourcefulness of their circumstances. Tasked with cooking for the household, their culinary magic inevitably cast a spell on the palates of their captors. Black slaves that tended to the house also watched over the slaveowners children. That is how Soul Food became a staple in generations that followed.
The history of Soul Food and its influence has never truly been extensively explored… until now. High On The Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America is a new Netflix docu-series adapted from food historian Jessica B. Harris’ book of the same name. In the new series, viewers accompany food writer Stephen Satterfield on a journey through the Soul of American cuisine. Interviewing chefs, historians and activists that celebrate the courage, artistry, and resourcefulness of African Americans, High On The Hog intends to not only awaken your senses, but also provide context, connection and culture.
From Africa to the deep south and through the lens of our experience right onto your plate, High On The Hog is an absolute must-watch. Knowing the origins of the foods we eat not only allows us to appreciate the food more, but also connect with its culture in an authentic way.