Free soul food recipes, with it’s tradition of southern flavor and satisfaction, are making a comeback among African American teens. In the past, this traditional southern cuisine had fallen out of favor with many teens thanks to the fast food movement, the fact that people cooked less and because it was stylish to eat out. But now thanks to the recession, less discretionary income and the need to save, more teens are rediscovering this popular southern cuisine all over again.
Yes, thanks to the economic downturn more families are forced to cook and eat at home and more and less at fast food establishments. In addition, the movement and trend seems to be toward eating healthier, home cooked meals at the dinner table again. Family dinner time is slowly making a comeback. All these factors seem to have fuel the popularity of soul food recipes to teens again, much like their baby boom parents and grandparents.
For example, surprisingly many teens are tasting black eye peas, candied yams and hush puppies for the first time. And those who aren’t tasting them for the first time is seeing them and other traditional southern dishes in a whole new light.
This cuisine is also growing in popularity among teens as it adjust to new eating habits many teens are now moving to. A healthier food that taste good. With southern fried chicken, peach cobbler and sweet potato pie among the top 3 favorite foods among African American teens today. The industry have found creative ways to make these popular dishes healthier while maintaining the taste.
Another major influence on teens is the hip hop movement. For example, you can hear many hip hop stars mentioning soul food in their lyrics, showing it in their videos and eating it themselves with great delight. These combination of factors have joined to make soul food cooking and eating popular again with African American teens.
But a new market is looming on the horizon as well, what is this new market? White and Latino teens are slowly discovering soul food recipes, thanks again to the hip hop industry. Many non-African American consumers are joining. Some of the new converts are joining out of curiosity, others out of a need to try new experiences in food. But most are trying it because of African American friends introducing them to this popular southern cuisine. Could soul food cooking play a major role in uniting the cultural divide. Stay tuned.