When Joyce White moved to New York City from Alabama, she left small-town life behind and landed ajob as a food editor at a major women's magazine. Weekends, however, found her visiting churches in Harlem and Bedford-Stuyvestant, looking for a taste of home. Food has long been a part of the spiritual life of African-American churches, and what she found there, along with what she missed from home, was the comforting blend of cooking and fellowship that feeds both the body and soul.
In this warm and joyful collection, White offers more than 150 recipes for the foods that worshipers look forward to after services, and she captures the spirit of these sociable meals with warm, conversational and occasionally poignant reflections from African-American churchgoers around the United States.
"We don't just come to church service and leave," says a retired nurse who directs hospitality for a large church in Los Angeles. "Many of us stay here half the day. That way we get a chance to rub shoulders and see what is going on or going wrong with each other."
From delicious renditions of classics such as Sugar-Crusted Biscuits to updated favorites such as Black Beans with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, as well as special fare for entertaining and Kwaanza, the pages of Soul Food are alive with the spirit and love of African-American churches — and the terrific food to be found there.