This June join food and grill enthusiasts, food editors, chefs, historians, authors and more for the virtual celebration of 22 years of National Soul Food Month.™ Launched in 2001, National Soul Food Month™ has been touted online, in print and via word-of-mouth. This is the 22nd-year celebration in partnership with the Museum of Food and Drink in New York (MOFAD).
National Soul Food Month celebrates the heritage and history of foods and foodways of African Americans and peoples from the African diaspora. The culinary contributions of this group have had an indelible impact on the American menu.
Food is culture and the culture of African Americans is woven into the fabric of the American menu. From the innumerable folks whose creativity, skills and mother wit led to industry changing industrial innovations such as Norbert Rillieux, George Washington Carver or Frederick McKinley Jones; media personalities like Nancy Green or Lena Richards, the first Black woman to host her own television cooking show or Lucille B. Smith who created the first hot roll biscuit mix. The list of those who contributed to this American cuisine is long and in June we will celebrate some of them as we mark 22 years of National Soul Food Month, looking at the past, the present and the future.
Special thanks and appreciation to our 2023 Sponsors
How It Started
Food expert, writer and number one aunt… Charla L. Draper realized traditional soul foods were foods that deserved celebration and needed to be celebrated. So, in 2001, Draper christened June National Soul Food Month. National Soul Food Month appeared for the first time in that year's Chases’ Annual Calendar of Events. The entry in Chases’ Calendar reads:
National Soul Food Month, celebrating the heritage and history of the foods and foodways of African Americans and peoples from the African diaspora. The culinary contributions of this group had an indelible impact on the American menu.
My appetite and interest in food was nurtured in a family of great cooks— both of my grandmothers had skills. Our house was always filled with the aroma of good cooking–soul foods, and scratch baking of the buttery, moist melt in your mouth pound cake created by Mom’s mother Gonga. Dad’s mother —Big Mama honed her skills in Shreveport, Louisiana and her menus included seafood gumbo, braised rabbit, and pear preserves. All of these foods were essential in creating our family food legacy.
We appreciate your interest, feedback and suggestions. Thank you for supporting National Soul Food Month.
Wed. May 31, 10:00 am (CST) "Soul Foods for Healthier Souls." Kick-off National Soul Food Month with the nationally recognized Hebni Nutrition Consultants team member, Fabiola Gaines, RD. Gaines shares how to preserve traditional soul food recipes, yet prepare them by trimming the fat, reducing the salt and slighting the sugar. It's important to keep soul food on the table, yet choose options to make healthier souls.
Wed. June 7, 6:30 pm (CST) “From Demolition to Rebirth, the Ebony Test Kitchen’s Journey” Landmarks Illinois (LI) former Advocacy Director Lisa DiChiera tells the story of how Landmarks Illinois saved the Ebony Test Kitchen from demolition! Charla L. Draper, the first Food Editor to work in the showcase kitchen adds insight to the presentation. As a result of the LI work, the kitchen became a key element in telling the story of Ebony and the role it played in defining African American foodways in the 2022 exhibition, “African/American: Making the Nation’s Table,” created by the Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD). The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture announced the acquisition of Ebony Test Kitchen in early June.
Wed. June 14, 7:00 pm (CST) "From the Soil to the Pot: Preserving Black Foodways." Sheree Williams, founder of multimedia platform, The Global Food and Drink Initiative (GFDI) and publisher of Cuisine Noir shares the work and the mission of GFDI to preserve and share the contributions of peoples from the African Diaspora. Influenced by the aroma and flavors of the cooking she enjoyed growing up, Williams will give us global insight on what's cooking around the African Diaspora.
Thurs. June 22, 6:00 pm (CST) “One-on-One with Carla Hall,” author of "Carla Hall's Soul Food Every Day and Celebration," will dish with us about soul food and the importance of keeping it on the table. When asked in an interview about soul food, Hall says "Soul food is in my soul." This program will give us a glimpse of how being nurtured on this traditional cuisine was the foundation for the culinary rockstar, author, and entrepreneur we follow today.
Tues. June 27, 6:30 pm (CST) “Food, Folks, and Place - Use Your Camera to Preserve”Clay Williams is a Brooklyn-based photographer specializing in food, drinks, and the people and places that define food culture; Brittany Conerly is a Dallas/New York based James Beard Award Nominated food, beverage, and travel photographer. These creative arts professionals team up to share their work as they frame the program around key elements to aid in preserving images and telling stories.