William Grimes reviews the new food memoir High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey From Africa to America by Jessica B. Harris for the NYT’s Sunday Book Review. The book explores the complex origins and development of what is now known as African American cuisine, i.e. soul food.

Grimes writes that, “African slaves, thrust into a strange land, carried with them the taste memories, cooking techniques and agricultural practices of their homelands and transformed the way Americans ate.

“In the South, slave tastes defined the cooking repertory in a wide arc that extended from the rice and seafood belt of the Carolinas to the Creole and Cajun lands of Louisiana. Elsewhere, blacks brought new flavors and dishes to white America in restaurants and markets, or on the sidewalk from food carts. As the United States expanded westward, they extended their reach, working as cooks on the chuck wagons that accompanied the great cattle drives and on the Pullman cars that carried passengers all the way to California and the Pacific Northwest.”

Looks like a fascinating read. For the full article, go here.