“It’s time to claim healthy food as our food.” That was the recurring theme during “Organic Soul Food Cooking and Conversation” with Alice and Caroline Randall, mother-daughter professors and authors of Soul Food Love: Healthy Recipes Inspired by 100 Years of Cooking in a Black Family.
In a lively cooking demonstration and discussion, the two women shared personal anecdotes and talked about the challenges black women face in regards to maintaining healthy habits, the importance of passing down recipes and values from generation to generation.
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The quest to shift the black community’s attitude towards healthy eating has changed the two women’s lives in more ways than one. “One in 4 black women have diabetes,” said Alice Randall. The mother, professor and author candidly discussed her issues with her own weight. “These recipes are Caroline’s love letter to me.”
The mother-daughter team wrote the book to educate and inspire people to eat healthy while not compromising the great taste of soul food. “Food literacy is a big part of what we do,” says Caroline. I’m a southern girl and we want others to find joy in the transition [to healthy eating]. It’s a myth that you can’t eat cheaply to eat well. We can still feed our bodies as well as our souls.”
Both ladies, who are teachers, provided insight into the history of soul food. “We need to reclaim our kitchens because being broken with our kitchens is being broken with our future. Cooking for yourself is a civil right,” said Alice. Caroline added, “Which is why I do it for you.”
The ladies emphasized that they wrote the cookbook for women who are trying to access the truth about healthy eating. Traditionally, society has defined soul food as having lots of sugar, salt and fat; however historically baked fish and wild berries have been a staple in the community. “We didn’t always eat this way all the time. That was celebration food, once a month food. We have to know the difference between celebration food and every day food,” said Caroline.
In between historical trivia, the two conducted two brief cooking demonstrations, and shared two recipes — their healthy New School Fruit Salad and Savory Avocado Salad with attendees. We’ve provided the recipes below. Happy cooking!