Soul food is very aptly named. It is food that is so tasty and filled with love that makes you feel good all the way down into your soul. It tends to be very satisfying and hearty, although not necessarily healthy. However, many modern chefs are trying to serve soul food that still has the soul but not the fat. The term soul food carries the connotation of the American dishes that you find in the southern United States, but its origins go back to before America existed. It has since become a staple of the South and a comfort to millions of people and an embodiment of the American melting pot.
While it is hard to pin down the exact roots of any food, culinary historians believe that soul food originated with a couple important events. First, in the 14th century, many American foods were introduced into African diets during the beginning of Euro-African exploration. The next was the beginning of the slave trade in the beginning of the 15th century.
Some of the crops from Africa ended up being planted in the Americas. The European slave masters would only feed their slaves with the cheapest food possible, which was generally leftovers from the plantations. Because they had so few options available to them, the slaves had to get creative with their cooking. They invented dishes made from new greens and used the cuts of meat that were, at the time, discarded.
After this beginning, the dishes continued to increase and evolve into an entire culinary genre which plays a huge part in America today, although it wasn’t until the 1960s that the phrase soul food came into use to describe it. The traditional preparation of soul food generally involves lot of starch, grease, salt, cholesterol, and calories. This was intentional during the days of slavery because it provided the slaves with enough sustenance to survive their grueling lives. However, in modern days, that unhealthy nature has caused much criticism.
Soul food has been blamed for the unusually high rates of various diet related ailments suffered by African Americans living in the areas where soul food is popular. Because of the health trend, many chefs are trying to find ways to update soul food that keeps the flavor without the unhealthiness. This is being done by using vegetable oil instead of lard or butter, leaner types and cuts of meat, and even vegetarian alternatives to many classic ingredients. However, there are many critics of this attempt to make soul food healthy who say that what is really being cut down is the flavor.
Soul food has become a culinary treat that has migrated throughout and beyond the United States. It is the quintessential comfort food. While it was a cuisine borne out of extreme hardship, it has become a cultural staple. Many millions of Americans remember soul food as what their mother made for them and what they want to serve to their children to create the same memories and warm feelings.
On this earth, there exists a cuisine, bringing people together for generations. It warms people’s hearts, their lives, and their souls. It is not Chinese, it is not Italian… Yes folks, it’s soul food. The long history of soul food dates back to the African American slaves that were once housed all over America. It is a comfort food, one that was born to bring families and friends together. The slaves cooked up their favorite meals whenever they could get together. Some of these famous dishes are gumbo, cornbread, and cole slaw. There are also many fried dishes that people enjoy every day. Many of the poorer slaves did not have access to meat, or even decent vegetables. They used what they could; scrounging up what little their masters allotted them to create hearty and delicious meals. These slaves even spread their influence to the Native Americans. Every state had its own brand of soul food, so there is a wide variety state-to-state.
The origins of this famous comfort food go way back, back to when the first slaves landed on the shores of America. It is well-known that many slaves never learned to read or to write, so they did what they could. Word of mouth was their recipe book, just as the bards in the medieval times documented the travel and valiant conquest of knights. The slaves traded recipes with each other, and this helped in the creation of the amazing meals that are still enjoyed today.
Young girls were taught to prepare meals alongside their mothers, who slaved away as long as 18 hours in the fields before preparing meals. These meals helped the over-worked slaves to wind down at the end of the day. Many African American families tended their own small crops of whatever they could grow. It is rumored that some slaves even brought over seeds of their indigenous African crops to the Americas. They paired this with the scraps their masters left for them to live off of. They ate a mostly vegetable diet, high in calories and sodium: something a lot of people would not go near today. It seems that many people have lost touch with what really makes up a meal. It is not the calories, the trans-fat, or the glucose: it is what goes into it, and what you do with it that really makes the meal.
Soul food still exists today, not only in the African American community, but also as a multimillion dollar industry. Many people have no idea where soul food started, and what it means, but they know who to go to for it. The most famous restaurants that serve soul food are small, family owned businesses. Sylvia’s Restaurant is located in the historical village of Harlem, and has been operational since 1962. Many well-known fast-food chains that serve Southern comfort food are Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Popeye’s Chicken, located all over the world.
No matter the hardships humans face on this earth today, they should rest assured that it is not the end of the world, and they could always go home and cook themselves up some soul food.
Out of all of the excellent cuisines to be found within the United States, none are more unique to American culture than good old Southern soul food. As a style of cooking, soul food incorporates elements of African-American culture with a heavy influence from multiple regions across the globe. Unfortunately, the rich flavors and buttery textures characteristic of soul food can be high in saturated fats and extra calories, but here are some tips to enjoy some classic Southern flavor without being frightened by your bathroom scale.
Explore Your Options!
Most often when one thinks of soul food, thoughts of deep fried, high fat foods come to mind. Though rich foods like this are common in soul food, there are so many more options. Having a substantial influence from West African cooking, common ingredients in soul food are actually native species of Africa. The crops imported include vegetables such as okra, turnips, and even watermelon! These ingredients are now staples of soul food and many are common in stews and soups such as gumbo and beef stew. Healthy ingredients make up a good portion of Southern recipes and allow for delicious, satisfying meals.
Substitute Healthier Ingredients
As with all forms of cooking, what you put into your recipes dictates what you get out of them. Preparing soul food is no exception. Traditionally, Southern style cooking uses methods that involve high amounts of saturated and trans fats that do not contribute to a healthy lifestyle, but this issue can easily be fixed. Instead of deep fat frying, try using lighter cooking oils like canola oil. This will render a much more healthy meal compared to the traditional style.
Try New Cooking Methods
As I have stated before, soul food does not all have to be full of unnecessary calories and cholesterol. Another way to minimize the fat content within your Southern cooking is to abandon the frying method all together. Southern classics like fried chicken and battered seafood can all be enjoyed when cooked in the oven or on the grill. Well grilled barbecue chicken is sure to satisfy any soul food craving. The trick is to be versatile and add some variety to your soul food recipe arsenal.
The Key to Truly Enjoy Soul Food
All of the options listed offer plenty of opportunities to enjoy the many rich flavors of soul food without having to worry about the health consequences. However, there are times when simply nothing will satisfy the craving for Southern cooking like a platter of golden deep-fried chicken or a plate full of hush puppies. The important thing to remember is that it’s ok to enjoy these Southern treats, as long as you save it for every once in a while. Soul food is all about good flavors and hearty meals, and in order to properly enjoy it, you must really indulge only when you truly feel like some old fashion Southern cooking.
Soul food recipes are in the fad right now, so Google up “Soul foods” and get down to preparing that favorite recipe of yours.
When it comes to decorating one’s game room in a poker theme, there are actually several different tactics you can try. Many people try to go for Old Hollywood-type elegance. This is all very well, and may be the safest, most sensible way to go. However, the downside to elegance is a certain generic flavor. Most “elegant” rooms tend to look alike. No wonder, then, that some people would prefer to decorate these rooms in a quirkier style.
Firstly, remember to allow your sense of humor to crop up when you decorate. Poker may be a high-stakes game, but it also includes a great deal of fun and gaiety. Therefore, decorating a room in an overly serious, circumscribed manner runs counter to the real spirit of poker. You might try ordering signs or posters from the Internet that contains witty, funny, or sarcastic sayings about poker. Of course, if you happen to be handy with computer graphics, make your own posters for a truly unique touch.
Feel free to be a little geeky. If you have a favorite poker superstar, why not group your pictures of him/her on a particular table or spot on the wall? Are you fond of attending different poker tournaments? Then you can show off your collection of tickets. Will some of your guests be beginners? Make your own poker wall diagrams (about rules, hands, bets, etc.) to help them join in the fun. Remember that a lot of the time, geekiness is what you make of it. It takes a very cool, confident person to be unabashedly public about his/her obsessions.
Still, one of the aspects that makes a “quirky” design so challenging is the need for discipline. More generic designs usually have a template you can follow. However, if you are striking your own path, you might end up going down a road that actually interferes with people’s game. You might have a fondness for unusual furniture, for example, but your guests are unlikely to be happy with it if said furniture is uncomfortable. Remember that poker games can last a long time, so comfortable chairs and spacious tables are essential to a good poker experience. If you wish, make “safe” choices when it comes to furniture and poker equipment (cards, chips, etc.), but let your imagination run wild for the wall decorations. Let your devotion show in the small details, such as card-themed snack bowls or ashtrays.
However, if you really, really want to be creative, the best way to give your energies an outlet is to have a poker party. That way, you can let your geekiness run wild—and others will be free to be as goofy or hardcore about poker as they like, as well. During a party, everything can be a decoration. Even the food can be a design element. For example, why not serve cookies in the shapes of hearts, clubs, diamonds, and spades?
Decorating your game room for poker can be fun and rewarding, especially if you are willing to take a gamble, instead of just playing it safe.
Among the monster pre-flop combinations that get your adrenaline pumping, there are some trouble hands to watch out for. These won’t be potential issues all the time, but there are situations where even the most enticing hands can be a recipe for disaster.
The first thin you need to do is download Poker Stars from the official website. This first hand is two cards making up what will be the inside of a straight, or at least one of the two to the inside, and it’s not the highest possible straight out there. This is incredibly dangerous when there’s more than six people at the table, as well. Take J, 8 for example. If the betting is light pre-flop, you’re likely going to go in with this hand to see what you can pull later. If you hit a straight, say Q, 10, 9…you think you’ve got it made and will bet accordingly. However, if an opponent played K, J before the flop, you’re going to be taken to the cleaners. You’ll think the entire time the other guy is betting up two pair or maybe a set, and you’ll miss the trap until it’s way too late. This is the kind of hand that can put you out of a tournament.
OK, how about A, Q? This has to be one of the strongest hands to bet early, right? Not so fast, and you know what’s coming. Exactly, if you take this up against A, K, there’s a 66 percent chance you’ll get drubbed through the hand and lose it in the end. The odds say it’s 3:1 against you. It’s one of the hardest Pokerstars.net hands to fold, but if you get that sense that you better not take the chance during high pre-flop betting, then don’t take that chance.
One more for now, but there are plenty of others to explore in future poker articles. J, J. This hand is almost worse than a low pair if for no other reason than how much it hurts when you’re convinced you have to fold it. If you are holding this hand on PokerStars and someone bets up against you, either they’re bluffing (which you can handle) or one of two other less than desirable results – A, K or A, Q….which means you’re only going to beat that person just over the majority of the time (not exactly odds to go all-in against) or they have a higher pair, which puts you at a 4:1 underdog and likely wishing you’d folded when you had the chance.
Everyone wants to find the best place to play poker online. With so many different options to choose from, from PokerStars.net to FullTiltPoker, finding the best spot for you can be overwhelming to say the least. However, being able to choose the best place to play online poker for real money does not have to be that difficult. In order to find the best place for you, you need to understand and lay out what your priorities and goals are when it comes to playing poker online. There are many important factors that you have to weigh in order to decide what is best for you but there are a few that are more important than others. It goes without saying that a strong bonus and VIP program, as well as reliable software is important to finding the best internet poker room, but there is more to look for.
The first thing to look for when deciding which website will be the best fit is the players who are playing at any given website. A player should ensure that the base of poker players who are regular to the poker site are of the quality you are looking for and support the poker games you play at the times you play. If you are looking to improve your game, you may want to find a poker room that is known for strong play. If you want to make money, poker rooms with notoriously soft play would be best.
The next important thing in finding the best place to play online poker is the selection of games that the website provides and how many players are playing those games. You may be a huge fan of traditional no-limit Texas Hold’em, but you also prefer to play a game like five card draw. Thus, you need a poker website that offers many different games. In addition to offering these games, it is important that there are actually people playing these game formats so that you can have people to play against.
The most important thing to take into account when you are looking to find the best place to play online poker is that you find the poker site, such as PokerStars.de that best meets your own needs. Every person has different needs and identifying what those needs are and finding the website that best suits them is the surest way to having an enjoyable experience. Poker players should ensure that the online poker site provides a selection of games that they are looking to play and has the types of players that will support those games so you can get some action.
Experienced gamblers know that a great gaming experience is not just about rules, strategies, and victories—though those are certainly important. It is also about atmosphere and ambience. Therefore, the venue in which you play also has a great deal to do with your game. This is why many players still make the effort to go to gambling “capitals” like Las Vegas and Monte Carlo, despite the presence of nearer gambling establishments, in addition to gambling sites that you can visit without even leaving your residence. Here are some tips about decorating your own poker room, so that you can bring a little bit of Vegas into the games you play with your friends.
Firstly, resist the urge to go all-out in your decorations and place poker-themed fixtures or decorations everywhere. This could be garish and distracting, and even negatively affect players’ performance. Poker is an elegant game, and your decorating scheme should reflect this. (Of course, it is a different story if you are throwing a poker party. Feel free to go all-out.)
Also, focus on decorations that will make game play comfortable and efficient. For instance, make sure that all chairs are spacious, padded, and comfortable. Poker games can last for several hours, so players should be able to sit in chairs for that length of time without developing aching limbs. Furthermore, make sure that each player has enough space on the table. Your poker table should allow each player a space that is two feet long. This is not only for comfort, but to prevent any jostling that would disturb chips, and can ensure that players will not accidentally see one another’s cards. If you use some type of fan or air conditioner for ventilation, make sure that it is operated in such a way as not to disturb cards or chips. Facilitating game play should be your priority, rather than covering the room with splashy design elements.
You should also pay attention to the actual poker-playing equipment. For instance, clay chips and wooden chip racks add a touch of class to any game. It is believed that the weight of a clay chip, or the sound it makes against table surfaces or other chips, enhances the poker experience greatly. (For connoisseurs, at least. Beginners and philistines may not care much about the difference between clay chips and plastic ones.)
If you can, try decorating your room with well-placed poker memorabilia. If you have souvenirs from trips to famous poker competitions, try displaying them. Pictures of poker superstars can also be put up for viewing at Poker30.net. You can also make reference to poker fiction. After all, popular representations of poker do a lot to perpetuate the game’s mystique. In other words, framed posters of poker-related movies might make great decorations. You might try ordering posters online. Otherwise, if you are friends with someone who owns a movie sale/rental establishment, ask if they have any posters or memorabilia relating to any of your favorite poker movies. Small, quirky touches like poker-themed wall clocks can lend an elegant room a distinctive, quirky edge.
Once again, remember that in the best poker rooms, visual panache and functionality should go together. Eye-popping design is all very well, but your first priority should be the facilitation of game play itself.