An April 22, 1971 soul food dinner hosted by the Bay Area Urban League is emblematic of the emergence of soul food as the preeminent symbol of black culinary identity after the 1960s. However, over the previous century, ideas about proper black food habits varied. Generations of reformers used food habits as a way to explore their relationship to the US nation state as well as to a stateless, black cultural nation. Their culinary debates reveal diversity, complexity, and disagreement over what to eat but agreement that food decisions are also political ones.
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