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Soul Food

Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine,

One Plate at a Time

Winner of the 2014 James Beard Foundation Book Award for Reference and Scholarship!

On August 15, 2013, 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.


The hardcover edition is OUT OF PRINT!

Order your autographed paperback copy for $20!

If you live outside of the continental United States, additional postage costs will apply.

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:

  • What is the food item?
  • How did it get on the soul food plate?
  • What does the food item mean for African American culture?

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.

Check out Soul Food’s table of contents:


  • 2014 James Beard Foundation Book Award for Reference and Scholarship winner.
  • Black Caucus of the American Library Association 2013 Honor Book for Nonfiction
  • Top 10 Food Books of 2013, Booklist
  • Ten Best Black Books of 2013 (Non-fiction), nationally-syndicated writer Kam Williams
  • Notable Mention in the “Memoirs, Histories, Other,” Eater.com’s Summer 2013 Cookbook Preview

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.

“I devoured . . . Soul Food. [Miller] made me realize that I knew so little about why it was called soul food, and why it even got that name. It was a terrific read.”–Nick Kindelsperger, Food & Dining Reporter, Chicago Tribune, May 24, 2019.