Winner of the 2014 James Beard Foundation Book Award for Reference and Scholarship!
On August 15th, my first book, Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time was published. I’m a very proud papa of this book (weighing in at 1 pound, 7 ounces, 333 pages long and dimensions of 9.4 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches) with much thanks to the University of North Carolina Press for a successful delivery.
Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time (University of North Carolina Press, August 2013).
In Soul Food–really a love letter to African American cooks–I create a representative soul food meal, and I write a separate chapter on each part of the meal. So, there are chapters on fried chicken, greens, black-eyed peas, etc. In an informative and entertaining way, I discuss the history of each food item and answer the following questions:
Most chapters have three recipes: a traditional, a health conscious and a contemporary version of how to prepare a particular dish. After reading my book, anyone should be able to prepare a soul food meal and understand its cultural context.
Hollering Praise for Soul Food:
“In Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time, Adrian Miller presents readers with a tasty treatise that masterfully captures the history and culture of African American food: the labors of those who prepare it, the dignity of those who serve it, and the joy of those who eat it.”
–Jessica B. Harris Ph.D. author of High on The Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America
“In his thought-provoking and persuasive book, Adrian Miller mounts a spirited defense of the diet that African Americans have identified with for generations. He makes a convincing case that the essentials of a make-do diet in hard times–field peas, yams, greens–deserve an honored place among the universal comfort foods that contemporary Americans eat for enjoyment and good health.”
–John Egerton, author of Southern Food: At Home, on the Road, in History
“A thrilling celebration and thoughtful commentary. Miller’s informative and delightful book offers us a ticket to explore both the history of soul food and its relationship to the greater African American experience.”
–Ronni Lundy, author of Shuck Beans, Stack Cakes and Honest Fried Chicken: The Heart and Soul of Southern Country Kitchens
Eater.com (National)–Notable Mention in the “Memoirs, Histories, Other” category in its 2013 Summer Cookbook and Food Book Preview (May 14, 2013).
“An engaging, tradition-rich look at an often overlooked American cuisine–certainly to be of interest to foodies from all walks of life.”
–Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A lively and thorough account for fans of food literature and of African American history…Highly recommended.”
–Library Journal (July 1, 2013)
“Miller’s book is a mouth-watering tome–22 recipes!–that not only titillates the palate, but feeds the brain with science, geography and history.”
–Patricia Calhoun, “Café Society” column, Westword, Aug. 15, 2013.
A “must read for foodies.”
–Tennessee Libraries, Spring 2014.
My Next Book: The President’s Kitchen Cabinet: The Hidden History of African American Presidential Chefs
While researching Soul Food, I learned that every U.S. president has had an African American on their culinary staff either as the head cook or as an assistant cook/chef. It’s a rich hidden history that I’m excited to share. In addition, I’m currently pitching a one hour television documentary on the same subject to several cable television networks.
I plan to write additional books on the African American foodways in the Midwest, African American barbecue tradtion and history, African American street vendors as well as a comprehensive and definitive work on all African American cooking (going beyond soul food).