When it comes to soul food, the battle is growing between the health conscious and the traditionalists who resist the changing landscape and direction soul food cooking is certainly going in. The healthy recipe crowd has formed a crusade of employing healthier ingredients and changing traditional soul food recipes which contain high calories, sodium and fat. For example, those ingredients they’re attempting to eliminate include fat back, ham hocks, bacon along with other pork products that have been traced to numerous health ailments like high blood pressure, stroke and obesity.
The traditional soul food recipe crowds have their own complaints. They complain that depriving them of traditional ingredients may also take away the essence of southern cooking. Changing the ingredients changes the robust flavors, smells and most importantly – taste – that made this popular southern cuisine world renowned. They assume the food will be bland and tasteless watered down. The two schools of thought have drawn a line in the sand with regards to taste and health. The side that currently has the strongest momentum is the health conscious crowd. This side represents the younger generation who are much more concerned about their diets and eating healthy compared to older generation.
Southern cuisine is almost a religion to some people. The answer many traditionalists have is to eat in moderation and exercise but keep the traditional southern cooking intact. The claim is that by doing this, soul food recipe lovers maintain the tradition and stay healthy to boot.
As this debate rages on, many experts believe the decision will come from a neutral third party. This deciding factor will unemotionally determine which side will come out ahead in this controversy. Free soul food recipes available on many websites have multiplied in recent months – perhaps because people tend to choose comfort foods during times of economic downturn. Nothing says comfort like soul food.
Thanks to superstar chefs like Paula Dean, The Neely’s, Bobby Flay and others, southern cuisine is back in fashion with a vengeance. Millions of people watch these chefs prepare exciting southern dishes each night on their favorite cable networks and long to imitate their colorful recipes. The meals are tasty, flavorful. These mega-chefs break down the recipes and inspire home cooks so that most dishes are do-able by most week-end cooks. The biggest complaint is the high calorie ingredients from the dishes in soul food recipes. But the tide is slowly turning as health conscious enters the scene.
Even traditional celebrity chefs are beginning to change their habits and turn from animal fats, such as lard and fat back. They’re replacing it with alternatives like smoked turkey. Smoked turkey is healthier and contains less fat and calories than traditional seasonings like fat back or ham hocks. Bold seasonings may be the hallmark of southern cooking. Today’s health conscious consumer must try to discover a healthy medium.
More soul food recipe sites are leaning more toward healthier ingredients and cooking methods within their recipes. More recipes involve roasting, grilling as well as sautéing and fewer ask for deep fat frying.
As southern and soul food cooking evolves, you’ll undoubtedly find it adjusting to a wider range of consumers. The trick is finding a way to fulfill the traditional needs while embracing a modern health conscious diet.