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.