If there was ever a food that had politics behind it, it is soul food. Soul food became a symbol of the black power movement in the late 1960s. Chef Marcus Samuelsson, with his soul food restaurant Red Rooster in Harlem, is very clear about what soul food represents. It is a food of memory, a food of labor.
My family dumplings are sleek and seductive, yet stout and masculine. They taste of meat, yet of flour. They are wet, yet they are dry. They have weight, but they are light. Airy, yet substantial. Earth, air, fire, water; velvet and elastic! Meat, wheat and magic! They are our family glory!
I saw a very old man, literally eating his own human waste out of hunger. I went to the nearby hotel and asked them what was available. They had idli, which I bought and gave to the old man. Believe me, I had never seen a person eating so fast, ever. As he ate the food, his eyes were filled with tears. Those were the tears of happiness.