Regional & Influences
African Americans in Food Service

A round the late 1960s the term "soul food" became popular to describe traditional African American food and the first cookbooks using this term were published, including Bob Jeffries' Soul Food Cookbook. The influence of eating habits promulgated by groups such as the Nation of Islam (for example, prohibitions against eating pork), the impact of the natural foods and back-to-the-earth movements, and the interest in African cultures and foods were all a part of this era. One of the results of the 1970s Black Consciousness movement was a new emphasis on rediscovering and reclaiming black history, and not only African American, but also traditional African foods were championed in new cookbooks.

Verta Mae Grosvenor's seminal cookbook, which traced similarities between food from the South Carolina Sea Islands to the Caribbean, Vibration Cooking: The Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl, was published in 1970. Interest in the cuisines of the Caribbean, Brazil, and Africa, was heightened by the increasing immigration from these areas to the United States. By the 1990s Ethiopian, Jamaican, Trinidadian, Brazilian, Cuban, and other ethnic restaurants were a popular and common part of the urban landscape.


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