Not long ago, the Yellow Bowl Restaurant was the place for down home soul food in Baltimore. The term soul music and soul food became popular with activist Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture), H. Rap Brown, Amiri Baraka and others during the black power and black arts movements of the late 1960s. Previous to then people called them simply rock and roll and southern food. After 1968, the year Eva and Youman Fullard purchased the Yellow Bowl Restaurant, black folks started to commonly use the names food and soul music. Thus, starting with the 1960s, urban dwellers in cities like Baltimore gradually made the transition from talking about rock music (rhythm and blues) and southern food to calling it soul music and soul food. As inner city Baltimore turned increasing African American and poor, the Fullards like any good entrepreneur adjusted their business to their community and clientele. In my book Hog and Hominy http://cup.columbia.edu/book/978-0-231-14638-8/hog-and-hominy/tableOfContents I argue that soul food dishes like fried chicken gizzards, collard greens, and hoppin John are inexpensive foods that are in the words of one cook I interviewed, “seasoned so good that it fascinates you.” These are dishes with ingredients Africans ate in abundance in West and Central Africa before the Atlantic slave trade. Here’s a, easy recipe for collard green and hoppin john below:
Collard Green Recipe:
Wash the collards good in plenty of slightly salted water
Start out with 3 bunches which will serve 6 people, they are big bug the cook down like spinach. I steam mine in a pressure cooker for 10 minutes until the fibrous leaves are easy to eat. Steaming preserves the water soluble vitamins that are killed when you just boil the greens down like most of my ancestors have done for years.
Remove the collards from the pressure cooker and save the water to make the pot-licker
Season the water with 3 cubes of vegetable bullion, dried bay leaf, dried red pepper flakes, little vinegar, and some honey. Had some smoked paprika or a little liquid smoke which most grocery stores sell if you like that smoked meat flavor (the traditional recipe calls for a smoked ham hock or a hunk of smoked fat back).
The pot-licker is full of vitamins and great seasoning for the greens
Sauté the steamed greens with chopped onions and garlic in olive oil with your preferred seasonings like pepper, salt, etc.
Add sautéed greens to the pot-licker and let them marinade for 30 or more before serving
Hoppin John history and recipe: http://blog.syracuse.com/entertainment/2009/12/hoppin_john_a_traditional_dish.html