Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time


Product Details

$24.00  $22.32
University of North Carolina Press
Publish Date
8.0 X 10.0 X 1.0 inches | 1.1 pounds

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About the Author

Adrian Miller is a graduate of Stanford University and Georgetown University Law Center. After practicing law in Denver for several years, he became a special assistant to President William Jefferson Clinton and the deputy director of the president's Initiative for One America-the first freestanding White House office to examine and focus on closing the opportunity gaps that exist for minorities in America.

After his White House stint, Miller returned to Colorado and served as the general counsel and director of outreach at the Bell Policy Center-a progressive think tank. In 2007 he became the deputy legislative director for Colorado governor Bill Ritter Jr. By the end of Ritter's first term, Miller was a senior policy analyst for the governor. Ritter where he handled homeland security, military and veterans' issues, and the Campaign to End Childhood Hunger.

Miller is currently the executive director of the Colorado Council of Churches. He is the first African American and the first layperson to hold that position.

Miller is also a culinary historian and a certified barbecue judge who has lectured around the country on such topics as black chefs in the White House, chicken and waffles, hot sauce, kosher soul food, red drinks, soda pop, and soul food. Miller's first book, Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time won the 2014 James Beard Foundation Book Award for Reference and Scholarship.


I recommend this book to 'foodies' and to those interested in American history, African American history and preserving good down home soul food cooking.--Tennessee Libraries

Miller's book is a mouth-watering tome that not only titillates the palate, but feeds the brain with science, geography and history.--Denver Westword

Crafts a dynamic and engaging biography of an American cuisine.--Southern Historian

Miller knows all about soul food's allure, both as a way of eating and as cultural totem. . . . [His] book is a labor of love.--Denver Post

Deliciously entertaining and rich in its history.--Journal of American Culture

This highly-informative opus . . . is filled with fascinating factoids.--Kam Williams

Miller took up the challenge of tracing soul food's history and launching its spirited defense after realizing the story had never really been told in a comprehensive way.--Villager Newspaper

Focusing each chapter on the culinary and social history of one dish--such as fried chicken, chitlins, yams, greens and 'red drinks'--Miller uncovers how it got on the soul food plate and what it means for African-American culture and identity.--The Philadelphia Tribune

Just the book to move readers from one end of the line to the other without getting bogged down. . . . Soul Food is ingenious . . . [and] speaks to the enduring mythological power of its staple dishes.--Michael Twitty, American Prospect

An intelligent review that explores the muddy territory 'where southern food ends and soul food begins.' The journey is as informative as it is entertaining.--Austin Chronicle

[A] fascinating look at the cuisine known as soul food and its close cousin, southern cuisine. . . . Photographs and recipes add to the allure of this well-researched look at the past and future of soul food.--Booklist, starred review

An engaging, tradition-rich look at an often overlooked American cuisine--certainly to be of interest to foodies from all walks of life.--Kirkus, starred review

Detailed and sprightly. . . . [Miller] adds in-depth chapters that explore more than a dozen soulful dishes--including catfish, black-eyed peas, mac and cheese, cornbread, and candied yams.--Stanford Magazine

As Miller tells the whole story of soul food from its beginnings to current day and throughout, he is so skillful at finding cultural and historical context, you may find yourself learning about your own food culture.--Culinary Historians of Washington

Both thought-provoking and celebratory.--Edible Piedmont

[A] comprehensive and entertaining history of soul food. . . . A lively and thorough account for fans of food literature and of African American history. Recipes included. Highly recommended.--Library Journal

[Miller] doesn't do anything halfway.--5280

Examines the roots of a distinctly American

Miller moves way past common notions about soul food to offer a fascinating look at the cuisine and its close cousin, southern cooking.--Booklist Top 10 Food Books of 2013

[A] lively, innovative, and carefully researched study of traditional African American food habits.--North Carolina Historical Review

Miller makes many surprising points and teaches us a great deal about our Southern foodways' relationship to soul food. . . . Along the way, we get some fascinating insights, and a few great recipes and illustrations.--Okra Magazine

An undeniably entertaining book.--Journal of Southern History

A wonderful combination of sociological examination of African-American culture and identity, travelogue and cookbook. . . . It's exactly this combination of earnest curiosity and an unwillingness to take his topic too seriously that makes Soul Food such a great read. . . . I highly recommend this book!--Nashville Scene

Insightful, thoughtful and meticulously researched, Soul Food sets a place for soul food in the American culinary canon. There's no way you won't be craving something sweet and fried and soulful for dinner.--Virginian-Pilot

Most people don't know soul food the way Miller does. . . . Miller's book studies soul food mainly in terms of its quintessential ingredients or dishes. . . [and] along the way, he dishes up a few surprises.--Winston-Salem Journal

2014 James Beard Foundation Book Award, Reference and Scholarship