American cuisine

From slavery to “soul food”, the history of African-American cuisine | Cedar Rapids

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWL) — In honor of Black History Month, the African American Museum of Iowa hosted a celebration of “soul food,” examining the history behind the cuisine.

The month of February is dedicated to honoring the history, culture and influence of black people in modern America.

It’s a story that went virtually unrecorded until the 1920s, when Dr. Carter Woodson launched the first-ever “Black History Week.”

The celebration of black history continued in Cedar Rapids today as the African American Museum of Iowa hosted a celebration of African American cuisine, better known as ‘soul food’. “.

The event was hosted at Lion’s Bridge in the Czech Village with “soul food” prepared by experts from Vivian’s Soul Food in Cedar Rapids.

Vivian’s co-owner Jermone Smallwood describes cooking as making something out of nothing. “Soul Food” originated in the era of slavery and was often made from leftover ingredients.

Smallwood said that often meant food had to be cooked longer and seasoned differently because it wasn’t what most people would consider premium cuts of meat.

The recipes served by Smallwood have been passed down from generation to generation in his family and the restaurant is named after his mother who taught him how to cook.

The event also included a guest lecture by Dr. Kelly Sharp, Professor of African Studies and History at Luther College.

This is one of the traveling temporary exhibits of the African American Museum of Iowa. Click here to find more programs and events.

To sample soul food for yourself, Vivian’s Soul Food is located at 2925 Williams Pkwy SW in Cedar Rapids.