South Side soul food chef’s recipes featured in global cookbook

Josephine Wade began cooking when she was 13. The daughter of sharecroppers, Wade was babysitting her siblings one day as her parents worked when she realized she needed to make them dinner. She went out to their garden, picked some vegetables and went inside to whip up a gourmet cabbage dish.

By the time she was 19, Wade knew she wanted to open her own restaurant. In 1986, Wade opened Captain’s Hard Times in Chatham, although she eventually changed the name to Josephine’s Southern Cooking.

Over the years, Wade amassed a huge following, with celebrities like Aretha Franklin showing up for her soul food. She became a staple on Chicago’s South Side and was seen with community leaders like Rev. Jesse Jackson and former Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and part of 79th Street, near her restaurant, now has an official, if honorary, designation: “Mother Josephine Wade Way.”

Josephine Wade (left) accepts a copy of the “Savor Our World” cookbook, which features two of her recipes, from Larita Clark, CEO of Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority.

Josephine Wade (left)

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Here’s The Real Difference Between Soul Food And Southern Food

Photo credit: rez-art - Getty Images

Photo credit: rez-art – Getty Images

Trying to differentiate soul food from Southern food shouldn’t be complicated. While not all Southern food is considered soul food, all soul food is definitely Southern.

Soul food is an ethnic cuisine traditionally prepared and eaten by African-Americans in the Southern United States. In the late 19th century, the Black Church became a gathering place for the Black community and impacted the development of what’s now considered soul food. Particularly in rural areas, foods like fried chicken, fried fish, sweet potato pie, red drinks, black-eyed peas and more were served during Emancipation celebrations and church gatherings. In the 20th century, more than six million of Southern Black people decided to leave due to poor economic conditions and intense racial oppression. From 1916 to 1970, waves of people moved from their homes, a massive relocation now called “The Great Migration.” They brought their culinary traditions

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Nonfiction food titles to feed the soul for the holidays

There is a wealth of food and food-related media for holiday giving. Cookbooks are excellent gifts, but there are many kinds of food writing to offer the food lovers in your life, from books to blogs to newsletters. 

The Best American Food Writing 2021 (HMH Books), edited by Gabrielle Hamilton 

This annual series is a roundup of the year in food writing, as seen through the eyes of the food professional or food writer who edits the selection. Hamilton is founder of the New York City restaurant Prune, and her take reflects the many perspectives of the hospitality industry that the pandemic has revealed. 

Delicious: The Evolution of Flavor and How It Made Us Human (Princeton University Press) by Rob Dunn and Monica Sanchez 

Dunn is a professor of applied ecology and Sanchez is a medical anthropologist; the two created a book that combs through evolutionary history with a focus

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Georgia chefs on ‘Great Soul Food Cook-Off’

“Soul food, for me, is everything.”

So begins the first episode of “The Great Soul Food Cook-Off,” a new cooking competition on discovery+. In this six-episode series, eight Black chefs from around the country face off in challenges designed to highlight the past and present of soul food. The winner takes home $50,000 — and, of course, bragging rights.

The show is produced by Good Egg Entertainment, the company behind Food Network’s “Chopped,” and is overseen by the Oprah Winfrey Network.

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“The Great Soul Food Cook-Off,” a cooking competition series celebrating Black chefs and culinary traditions, debuts Nov. 20 on discovery+. Courtesy of discovery+

“The Great Soul Food Cook-Off,” a cooking competition series celebrating Black chefs and culinary traditions, debuts Nov. 20 on discovery+. Courtesy of discovery+

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

The host is Southern chef and Food Network star Kardea Brown, who is joined each week by “Top Chef” alum Eric Adjepong and celebrated Harlem restaurateur Melba

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