Cover Image: The Spirit of Soul Food

The Spirit of Soul Food

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Member Reviews

ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 
I'm glad I decided to request The Spirit of Soul Food. This book isn't a cookbook but a history of soul food, the culture, and the people.
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A terrific premise. Tying the history of why certain foods have become soul food, the author is respectful about honoring that. Within a theological framework, he responds to his desire to redeem the food the black community has eaten historically. Once we know better, we do better. 

This books leans highly academic. I thought it would offer more history and more recipes. Much more academic in its approach.
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This book gives a comprehensive history of African Americans and soul food.  Specifically, the Black church.  It also encourages this same demographic to turn towards veganism.  It comes across as more for those that are on the academic track.  The author also does an interesting job of including some recipes to veganize some prominent foods that are often found in the black church community.  This would be a good resource if you are contemplating going that route

I received a copy of the book via NetGalley and am voluntarily leaving an honest review.
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This book is something I wish I had when I started my journey into food history. So often, food history is Eurocentric and exclusionary, however, Christopher Carter’s work “The Spirit of Soul Food” breaks from that in what I think is a very important way. He uses his experiences and research to create a layered study of black food history, with the addition of recipes that centre around the chapter. As a food historian I will be recommending this, and look forward to more of Carter’s work.
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I decided to request this book because I find the intersection of culture at different time periods and how it affects food, cooking, approach to nutrition, etc. and vice versa, fascinating. The history of Black soul food is very interesting, as are all of the things affecting food insecurity and poverty today — all horrible, many I didn’t consider. Liked reading about veganism, as it intrigues me in a way that “wish I could do this, but probably can’t.” Very interesting, engaging, and deeply researched read.
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I found this book fascinating in its approach to advocate for change and explain the logic for a black vegan movement. I think this book brought up many important points to consider when considering food choices. It is an important narrative that should be discussed more in the public sphere especially in regards to food deserts its direct link to racism.
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I know that I will take the time to reread this book. Christoper Carter aims to encourage three soul fool eating practices , soulfull, food justice and caring for the earth.  The book encompasses many of the Christian practices of this time including Laudato Si. 
History has many injustices including famine, wars and slavery. He describes the ways in which food was used to segregate, disempower and create food poverty. Sadly food poverty still exists in all societies.  At times it is a hard read, especially when he describes slavery and historic injustice. This book asks us to account for the past, reflect and move forward with compassion, humility and love of our neighbour. Christopher Carter describes Black Vaganism but shows that the principals are the founding bricks in Christianity i.e. love of our fellow man, everyman  created equal and justice for everyone. 

Thank you Netgalley for a free advance copy in return for an honest review.
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In the past, I haven't reviewed books that I haven't read. But, I have changed my mind.  Firstly,  I think that the fact that I couldn't finish a book is a valid criticism, and this is where we give feedback to the publisher. Secondly, I need to get my score up. I will not post this anywhere else but here. My rating will be based on what other people would think about this work.

I got about thirty percent in but found that it was not gripping me. I do not think that I am the intended audience for this book. However, l think that this would be a great read for  those Christians who wish to reconsider what they eat, a good read for the beginning of the year
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Christopher Carter has delivered a very academic text on the origin of black soul food. He also introduces the idea of "black veganism" which I found very interesting but it left me with some questions. I wouldn't mind reading more on this concept of black veganism. The author talks about how colonialism and slavery influences the way we eat and what we consume.

He shares his journey from vegetarian to black vegan. He shares the fear he experienced when adopting this lifestyle change because he wasn't sure if he would still get that comforting, "soulful" feeling from vegan foods that are obviously different from the classic recipes he grew up eating with his family. With that, he shares a few vegan recipes for traditional soul food staples.  If you enjoyed the book High on the Hog, you will enjoy this text as well. It is a bit academic and repetitive at times but a great addition to any library.
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This was a well-thought out book. The author delves in the history of soul food and how we can practice “soulfull eating” to preserve it and to benefit our community, caring for the environment and animals and fighting the systemic racism in the food system.  He also discusses how damaging “coloniality” is and how all people should “decolonize” the European, Western ideals that first evaded the world centuries ago. One of the biggest concepts of the book is decolonization. It’s basically resisting white supremacist ideals & policies to benefit marginalized communities. Soul food is a form of decolonization and you’ll how see the author discusses that.  He explains how the country failed the black and poor communities, nonhuman animals and nature and food & farm workers. The author is a black vegan and explain his stance on why he became one. He also includes vegan soul food recipes at the end of each chapter. Soul food is much more that what the general public knows about it, it’s much deeper for the black community.

One of the biggest concepts of the book is decolonization. It’s basically resisting white supremacist ideals & policies to benefit marginalized communities. Soul food is a form of decolonization 

The spiritual aspect of this book wasn’t prominent as other topics but it was still woven nicely. He believes African American Christians have a big role in fighting for the justice of food workers and marginalized communities. He wants black folks to acknowledge themselves as image bearers of God and that thought process alone would provide healing for our community. 

I recommend this book!

"I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own."
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NetGalley ARC Educator 550974

Not only does the cover invoke feelings of joy and spirit, so do the words. The author takes you on a journey from then to now, with the tragedies and triumphs interspersed therein. You will feel the highs (everyone I feel the spirit) and the lows (Precious Lord), but you will be lifted. 

A must have for every collection. Thank you sir.
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This work explores the idea of Soul Food and what constitutes it by navigating the history of enslaved Africans and the establishment of African American traditions in response to enslavement and repression. It seeks to deconstruction and de-link the deep relationship that soul food has with slavery and BIPOC oppression in America and aims to motivate and develop a new idea around what is meant by food for the soul and how this practice can be sustained in terms of a earth-, ethics-, and Christian-conscious manner.

I found the author's analysis of food and how colonialism and slavery have impacted our eating thought-provoking. One doesn't often think too deeply about food and how the idea of 'health' and 'healthy-eating' usually precludes Black people and our way of eating.

As someone who is a continental African, I have a relatively good understanding of Soul Food (a discussion around cultural imperialism that can be had at another point), but this work allowed me a better view of where things stand now, and the author's exploration of decolonizing food and disassembling the idea of an 'other', whether man or animal was well done.

I also really enjoyed all the recipes, and you can bet a few of them were written down. This is a good book to come back to repeatedly, because you'll notice something new and have a light bulb moment every time.

I think any reader should be prepared for he technicality of some of the text. A lot of big terms are used here; I didn't find them difficult, but I do think it has the potential to overwhelm if one doesn't have the context or an idea of decolonisation.
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The Spirit of Soul Food by Christopher Carter is a profound book that explores the origin and complex history of soul food. The exploration thoroughly details the definition of soul food and how the history of oppression of African and African American people led to the creation of food that has come to he termed as soul food. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and learned so many things. As a member of the African American community, I really enjoyed viewing the concept of soul food from a different and very informed perspective that was very thought provoking. I would definitely recommend this book to everyone because it is another way of learning about an aspect of American history, especially because food plays such a vital role in our every day lives. 

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read this advanced reader's copy in exchange for my honest review.
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Date reviewed/posted: August 14, 2021
Publication date: November 30, 2021

This is NOT a cookbook- it is a treatise on everything that soul food and being black in America in the 2020s. It is an excellent read that will get you thinking about if your food suits you right down to your soul. Do you cook and prepare typical-for-you food and eat for race or history? Do you just eat what you can afford or can find in your food desert or do you eat based on what is popular on TikTok or what Paris Hilton insists that she is capable of cooking while juggling 5 iPhones?  If you live near a grocery store are you aware that many cities like Detroit have zero supermarkets and they involve a local store or a very long bus trip? 

And the cover of the book? I want to frame it and hang it on my wall!

Food deserves justice, and this book will start that conversation - I will HIGHLY recommend this book to friends, family, patrons, book clubs, and people reading books in the park as we do … I have had some of my best conversations about books and food down by the Thames!
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