Explore the Fascinating History of Soul Food

Soul food. You've undoubtedly heard the phrase, but what exactly does it mean? Oddly, it didn't originate as a culinary term. The expression—or at least a variation of it (soul's food)—was coined by William Shakespeare in his play The Two Gentlemen of Verona, which is believed to have been written in the late 1500s. The phrase was also used in the Christian church as a term for spiritual nourishment. It wasn’t until the 1960s, around the time of the Black Power Movement, that soul food became tied to food.

In this episode of "Food History," we’ll look at the history of soul food in America and learn about the cuisine's pioneers, like Pamela Strobel, a.k.a. Princess Pamela. We'll also speak with experts Dr. Jessica B. Harris, who has spent years studying and writing about food and culture, along with former Top Chef cheftestant Chris Scott to gain a better understanding of this cuisine’s long history in the United States—and how it differs from Southern food.

For more episodes like this one, be sure to subscribe here!

Blue Apron’s Memorial Day Sale Will Save You $60 On Your First Three Boxes

Scott Eisen/Getty Images
Scott Eisen/Getty Images

If you’ve gone through all the recipes you had bookmarked on your phone and are now on a first-name basis with the folks at the local pizzeria, it might be time to introduce a new wrinkle into your weekly dinner menu. But instead of buying loads of groceries and cookbooks to make your own meal, you can just subscribe to a service like Blue Apron, which will deliver all the ingredients and instructions you need for a unique dinner.

And if you start your subscription before May 26, you can save $20 on each of your first three weekly boxes from the company. That means that whatever plan you choose—two or four meals a week, vegetarian or the Signature plan—you’ll save $60 in total.

With the company’s Signature plan, you’ll get your choice of meat, fish, and Beyond foods, along with options for diabetes-friendly and Weight Watchers-approved dishes. The vegetarian plan loses the meat, but still allows you to choose from a variety of dishes like General Tso's tofu and black bean flautas.

To get your $60 off, head to the Blue Apron website and click “Redeem Offer” at the top of the page to sign up.

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.