RL Reeves Jr reports on the U.S soul food scene

We love reading obituaries. Our grandfather Big Jim Sullivan was an avid obituary follower with a standard joke when our grandma asked him what he was doing, “just making sure I’m not in here” he’d crack while the family had a good laugh.

You know you’ve led a rich life when the paper of record, the New York Times, see fit to fete you upon your demise. But even the Old Gray Lady has seen a few notables fall through the cracks over the years. That’s why the paper has set out to rectify that by penning obits on people who died long ago but did not receive the proper encomiums upon their death

Such is the case with one Pig Foot Mary aka Lillian Harris Dean, a Mississippi émigré who left the South to seek her fortune in New York City in 1901. She raised $5 (nearly $150 in today’s money) by working as a maid and used the funds to secure (a) “…secondhand baby carriage, a 59-cent tin boiler and a charcoal stove” She was in business. The business of soul food. God what we wouldn’t give to sample her fried chicken or pigs feet. more.

We miss Atlanta. At one juncture in our lives we routinely made the two hour drive to the old city to eat, shop for records, and go to punk rock shows. Seeing Bad Brains at the peak of their power was just one highlight. But nowadays the drive is a solid eight hours and we rarely find ourselves in ATL. Here’s a respectable, six shooter of Atlanta soul food restaurants if you find yourselves heading to the middle of Georgia more.

One of our favorite authors Toni Tipton Martin asks “Where are the black food writers?” We have no idea. Since 90 percent of what we read has no accompanying photo with the byline we’re not sure what the color of the author’s skin is. Miss Toni is on the road promoting her new book, “Jubilee: Recipes From Two Centuries of African American Cooking” and we’re champing at the bit to get our hands on it. A few years back we took a series of cooking classes from Tipton-Martin and have been following her career ever since. Read a recent LA Times article about her latest effort here.

We love a good gimmick and Trucker’s Cafe in Dallas has a great one. For $60 you can put your mouth on a 5lb hamburger or for more diminutive appetites you may opt for a plate of boiled neckbones or even a salad. “D” magazine has a Dallas soul food guide right here.

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