We live in the North-country.

In springtime, when the rest of the nation is going to the lawn and garden center, we are shoveling snow. At the cabin, I don’t cut grass for the first time until Memorial Day weekend. 

Why would someone live in such a place?

The answer used to be prominently displayed in the Metrodome, “We Like It Here!”

Think about that for a moment. Several million people choose to live in a place where it is necessary to remind themselves at sporting events that “We Like It Here!”. 

This all came to mind as I was brushing snow off the pontoon boat this week. But I digress.

This post is about soul food, which may be best described by what it is not. 

Take green beans, for instance. In Minnesota, one buys fresh green beans at the coop, boils them in water, and then serves them with a sprinkle of salt and a pad of melted butter.

This is not soul food!

My Grandma Laura Coats lived in Southern Indiana, right outside of Louisville, KY. Her green beans came from a mason jar that she canned the previous summer with a generous measure of bacon fat. I can say with complete assurance that you have never tasted green beans as good as hers. Neither have I since she passed in 1993. 

There are many examples of soul food from Grandma’s table: raisin pudding, greens, pan-fried chicken, biscuits and gravy (not the pathetic crap restaurants serve), homemade yeast rolls (I have tried to match her performance for thirty years unsuccessfully), etc.

I’m not a bad cook, but I have never mastered soul food. As a result, my life isn’t as rich as it might be. 

Which brings me to a question. What about the other kind of soul food, namely Soul-Food?

Years ago, we attended Sunday services at a Southern Baptist Church. We were the only white people in the congregation (which felt slightly intimidating). I think people assumed we were from out of town, got lost on our way to the Presbyterian Church, and stumbled in by mistake. 

The service had the same fantastic flavor as my Grandma’s green beans!

Life can be a lot richer. We just need more Soul-Food. 

But where can we find it? 

I think it requires inspiration and nourishment from sources greater than our self. Maybe poetry, maybe wisdom literature, maybe nature, maybe helping one another.

Development of Soul requires shifting awareness to presence where an exchange of energy occurs, a giving and receiving of the very life force that lights our existence. 

I am told that most of us who live up North are deficient in Vitamin D. I’m pretty sure many of us suffer from a lack of Soul-Food as well!

I am working to change that!

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2 Replies to “Soul-Food”

  1. My Grandma Esther made matzo ball soup and potato latkes that could cure any ill. Cooking with love and a dollop of schmaltz. Your « post » brought me back to her kitchen at 39 Earl Street.


  2. Hi Tim
    We don’t eat a lot. Mostly, meats and vegetables, lots of greens. Not much wheat, except pizza (teenagers), or milk.
    Garden herbs. A friend (and nutritionist from U of MN) mentioned that it’s natural to always be a little hungry.
    Humans are not designed to to eat (3 squares a day) only in the last 70 years are we told such.

    In fall those great meals are, meat, beet soup, chili, chicken soup, fish boils, etc. high protein stuff. Pastas and breads are not good. (although majorly satisfying).
    Our kids are always hungry but for the wrong stuff, too bad.

    Soul food? Occasionally, we have a get together for a big fryer of wings, and fish/shrimp, beer ….usually for football and/ or ice fishing !!!!


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