Soul Food (1962)

Towse my.cache at GMAIL.COM
Sun Jun 25 03:38:23 UTC 2006

On 6/24/06, Bapopik at <Bapopik at> wrote:
> Andy Smith had asked me a few years ago if I had a "soul food" cite
> pre-1963. The term was used in Harlem, but it may come from Chicago.
> I  re-checked.
> Chicago's newly digitized Chicago Defender has "soul food" from  1962.
> ...
> The revised OED has--?
> ...
> ...
> ...
> (Oxford English Dictionary)
> soul food, (a) fig. spiritual  nourishment; (b) orig. U.S. Blacks, the
> kind
> of food typically  eaten by Black people, spec. those foodstuffs
> originating in
> the southern  states of America;
> 1920 W. R.  LETHABY in London Mercury Mar. 575 The  history that can be
> seen
> and touched is a strong and stimulating soul-food,  entirely different
> from
> vague and wearying written history. 1964  N.Y. Times Mag. 23 Aug.
> 62/3  Soul
> food, chitterlings, collard greens, ham hocks, grits,  black-eyed peas and
> rice,
> and the like.

The OED's non-foodie definition can be pushed back with reference to _SOUL
FOOD: being chapters on the interior life with passages of personal
experience_   by George Douglas Watson. Publisher: Cincinnati: Revivalist
Office. c1896.

OCLC: 10166455
Subjects: Christian life. | Devotional literature.

Multiple copies shown for sale at references copies in twenty-three USA
libraries. also shows a non-Christian, non-devotional item: _Soul Food_ by
Ronald Berry. Sutton House Publications. 1960. Black Sugar Series. "an
erotic novel"

The University of Alabama Libraries.
W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library.
David Walker Lupton African American Cookbook Collection. <>

mentions the following:

"Soul Food Cookery. Inez Yeargan Kaiser. New York: Pitman Publishing
Corporation. 1968. Revised edition. 90pp. + index. spiral pbk. 16.5x23 cm.
6.5x9 in. (Note: Also published by Pitman Publishing Corporation as The
Original Soul Food Cookery. 1968. Revised edition). (Note: The author's
middle name is variously spelled as Yeargan and Yeargen in this
cookbook.Theoriginal edition was the first commercially published
cookbook using the
words "soul food" in the title. ) The Lupton collection also contains an
uncorrected proof of this title."

"First commercially published cookbook using the words 'soul food' in the
title" would imply that the foodie use of "soul food" is probably -- as
noted in the Pittsburgh Courier and other references -- a sixties

... a wise man once said,

If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft,
And of thy meager store
Two loaves alone to thee are left,
Sell one, and with the dole
Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.
*- Sheikh Muslih-uddin Saadi Shirazi*


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