We’ve all heard the old adage that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Based on my observations, this adage definitely carries some serious weight (pun intended). Sure, things have changed, and not knowing how to cook isn’t a deal-breaker for most men these days, but if a woman does know how to cook, her man certainly isn’t complaining. As a matter of fact, he’s probably as happy as can be.
Eating is an essential part of life. Now, what we eat — well, that is a completely different story. As much as mac & cheese, cornbread, and fried chicken taste good, it’s tough to argue that they are essential to our diet. Yet, no one can argue that a good plate of soul food does just as much for the soul as it does for the stomach. Soul food often comes with satisfaction and comfort, and there is no denying that. What happens though, when our love for soul food puts us in danger by jeopardizing our health? How do we change our recipes? Because, even though they please everyone in our home, our doctors aren’t crazy about what we are having for dinner? How do we tell our men that we definitely want to find the way to their hearts, but it just can’t be through food?
Soul Food Junkies, created by Byron Hurt, is a documentary that looks at the historical and culinary roots of our beloved soul food. The film interviews doctors, cooks, historians, and everyday people in an attempt to bring light to the root of soul food, while also bringing attention to what these satisfying dishes are doing to our communities. Soul food carries some advantages, but those have to be weighed against the disadvantages, and this film takes a look at that reality.
Creating Soul Food Junkies was truly a labor of love for Hurt since his inspiration to create the film came from watching his father lose his battle with pancreatic cancer in 2007. Even after Hurt’s father became aware of his diagnosis, it still took quite some time for him to change his eating habits, and once he did it was too late. How many of us see this happen in our communities everyday? It begs the question — with the prevalence of heart disease and hypertension in the black community, is someone’s life worth a piece of fried chicken?
Food brings families together. Some of the best moments in my life happen right in my kitchen. However, I am realizing more and more that just because something provides comfort doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Comfort can come with a price. Maybe we can prepare soul food less often? Maybe we can create healthier versions of our favorites? I am sure the solution is different for everyone, but the end result should be the same — taking better care of ourselves and the ones we love.
Food tastes best when it’s made with love, but it would probably serve us all to remember that loving ourselves comes before loving whatever is on our plates. There are surely many ways to your man’s (and family’s) heart, and food does not have to be one of them.
Soul Food Junkies premieres on PBS today, January 14th. Check your local listings for the exact date and time in your area.
Will you be tuning in to watch Soul Food Junkies?
Video Credit: Soul Food Junkies via YouTube