Fried chicken? Collard greens? Corn bread? Yams? Yes, please. Sure, I know it would be healthier to have a salad, but every now and then I have to get my soul food fix.
I’ve always been aware that some of the most traditional soul food dishes are made from ingredients that could generally be bought cheaply, and I’ve always known that eating too much of it can lead to health consequences like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
During the course of the film, Hurt looks at his own family’s food history—particularly his father’s relationship with soul food—and its effect on his father’s health, goes back to soul food’s origins as fuel for slaves brought to this country, and examines the state of food deserts and food system injustice in predominately African American neighborhoods across the country.
It left me with lots to think about. I already spend a good deal of my workday thinking about food systems and food justice, but I am humbled to know so much more about how soul food came to be, and though I’ll continue to eat it, will do so with new awareness of its complicated place in history.
You can watch Soul Food Junkies on PBS Video until January 22. Take an hour of your time and watch it—it’s worth the history lesson. It’s given me an entirely new perspective on how this food has come to tables around the country.