A mother-daughter duo reclaims
and redefines soul food by mining the traditions of four generations of
black women and creating 80 healthy recipes to help everyone live longer
In May 2012, bestselling author Alice Randall penned an op-ed in the New York Times titled “Black Women and Fat,” chronicling her quest to be “the last fat black woman” in her family. She turned to her daughter, Caroline Randall Williams, for help. Together they overhauled the way they cook and eat, translating recipes and traditions handed down by generations of black women into easy, affordable, and healthful—yet still indulgent—dishes, such as Peanut Chicken Stew, Red Bean and Brown Rice Creole Salad, Fiery Green Beans, and Sinless Sweet Potato Pie. Soul Food Love relates the authors’ fascinating family history (which mirrors that of much of black America in the twentieth century), explores the often fraught relationship African-American women have had with food, and forges a powerful new way forward that honors their cultural and culinary heritage. This is what the strong black kitchen looks like in the twenty-first century.
About the Author
ALICE RANDALL is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels The Wind Done Gone, Pushkin and the Queen of Spades, Rebel Yell, and Ada’s Rules
and the only person to ever study with Julia Child for credit at
Harvard. An acknowledged authority on African-American cookbooks,
Randall teaches the course “Soul Food, in Text, as Text” at Vanderbilt
University. She also writes country music, including Trisha Yearwood's
now classic “XXX’s and OOO’s (An American Girl).” Randall has been
recognized by the National Institutes of Health as a Health Champion and
is Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Nashville Ambassador.
CAROLINE RANDALL WILLIAMS, an award-winning published poet and Harvard graduate, is currently pursuing her MFA at the University of Mississippi. She spent two years teaching public school in the Mississippi Delta as a corps member with Teach for America, during which time she coauthored of The Diary of B.B. Bright, Possible Princess with her mother, Alice Randall. She owns more than 1,000 cookbooks.
Praise for Soul Food Love: Healthy Recipes Inspired by One Hundred Years of Cooking in a Black Family…
“Soul Food Love has preserved our traditions but reinvented how they’re prepared. Its focus on health is a godsend.”
“Two brilliant writers, novelist Alice Randall and her daughter, poet Caroline Randall Williams, have set out here on a mission to do nothing less than extend black women’s lives. They do this by sharing their encyclopedic knowledge of African American foodways and their versions of how soul food can be healthfully prepared. This beautifully written compendium is literary history, cookbook, family album, motherwit, daughter-grace, and the gospel truth. Alice and Caroline include family history that seeks to tell the tough truth, plus absolutely delicious recipes as well as photographs that showcase the soul-pleasing aesthetics of an exquisitely set table and a lovingly presented meal. I’ll be cooking from this book for years to come, and every time I turn to it, I will treasure the wisdom and pure pleasure within.”
—Elizabeth Alexander, poet and professor
“Like Proust’s madeleine, the exquisite prose and delicious recipes in Soul Food Love carry us to a sacred place of memory. In telling their family story, Alice and Caroline help a fractured nation rediscover its history. More than a cookbook, this is an act of redemption for Americans of every color.”
—Susan Fales-Hill, author of Always Wear Joy
“This wonderful book answers one of life’s most important questions: Can I eat some tasty, soulful food without killing myself? Because I don’t want to choose between flavor and health. Thanks to Soul Food Love, I don’t have to.”
—Reginald Hudlin, director of Boomerang and producer of The Boondocks and Django Unchained
“Soul Food Love is a feast. Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams serve up morsels of flavor and love spanning three centuries, five kitchens, and six states. With tender, poetic memories, they lift the ancestors up, stirring cherished family recipes with ingredients for a healthier future.”
—A’Lelia Bundles, author of On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker