Uptown Soul Food is a 100% plant-based meal planning and personal chef company. Created by Takia McClendon in 2011, Uptown Soul Food’s mission is to serve fresh, creative, plant-based cuisine while celebrating and upholding traditional African American culinary history. Uptown Soul Food currently hosts a seasonal pop-up restaurant at Wired Beans Cafe in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. For more information regarding our event dates, healthy eating tips, or more, please contact Takia McClendon at UptownSoulFood@gmail.com.
What is Soul Food? —Adopted from Hog And Hominy: Soul Food From Africa To America by Dr. Fred Douglass Opie
“As I understand it, soul is the product of a cultural mixture of various African tribes and kingdoms. Soul is the style of rural folk culture. Soul is black spirituality and experiential wisdom. And soul is putting a premium on suffering, endurance, and surviving with dignity. Soul food is African American, but it was influenced by other cultures. It is the intellectual invention and property of African Americans. Soul food is a fabulous-tasting dish made from simple, inexpensive ingredients. Soul food is enjoyed by black folk, whom it reminds of their southern roots. [I argue] that soul is an amalgamation of West African societies and cultures, as well as an adaptation to conditions of slavery and freedom in the Americas. African Americans developed a cultural identity through soul and the associated foodways of people of African descent over hundreds of years.”
Photos by Darren Burton