zzxm | Soul food (1)


In this column: soul food


Soul food (aka downhome southern food) is often mentioned in blues lyrics. The menu includes dishes with: oxtails, neck bones, pigs' feet, ham hocks, chitterlings, ribs (pork and beef), fried chicken, catfish, several kinds of green, turnips, rutabagas, fried corn, fried green tomatoes, field peas, cobbler and cornbread.

Turnips, rutabagas and cornbread
Rutabagas, to the right turnips


The most commonly eaten species in the United States are the channel catfish and the blue catfish, both of which are common in the wild and increasingly widely farmed. In the United States it is eaten crumbed with cornmeal and fried.

Fried catfish

Sunnyland Slim at Delta Fish Market


A ham hock (or hough) or pork knuckle is the joint between the tibia/fibula and the metatarsals of the foot of a pig, where the foot was attached to the hog's leg. It is the portion of the leg that is neither part of the ham proper nor the ankle or foot (trotter), but rather the extreme shank end of the leg bone.

Ham hocks and red beans

Hungry Country Girl - Otis Spann and Fleetwood Mac


A cobbler with peaches


Neck bones are inexpensive and easy to cook. But don't be mistaken, this meat is packed with flavor and taste great. This slow-cooking meat and rice meal is a favorite of many families, both worked well on a tight budget.

Neck bones


Chitterlings (chitlins) are a culinary dish usually made from the large intestines of a hog.

Chitterlings (chitlins)

Mama, don't you think I know

Got a knock-kneed mama, down in Tennessee
She's short and squatty, she's all right with me
Now knock-kneed mama, what you going to cook tonight
What ever you cook, just cook it right
You got a face like a washboard and a mouth like a tub
Teach me mama, that washboard rub
Now some people say, chitlins are good to eat
I'll never eat chitlins, long as hog got feet
Takes a long-tailed monkey, a short-tailed dog
To do that dance, they cal the falling off the log
Now the monkey told the elephant, if he's not drunk
I know you're sober, you got the tail in front
Now the monkey told the elephant, you may be drinking wine
You can't switch your tail, like I switch mine

Papa Charlie Jackson, 1925

Chitlins Con Carne - Kenny Burtell

Chili Blues -Jon Meyerjon

Sourcesfederalcigarjugband.com, pancocojams.blogspot.nl, americanbluesscene.com, YouTube, Wikipedia, Hudson Motors Compagny, Archive Minneapolis, The Cruel Plains, M.H.Price a.o., truewestmagazine.com, The Austin Chronicle, Cambridge Free English Dictionary, Oxford Dictionary, TheSaurus.com, dragonjazz.com/grablue/blues_travel, Encyclopedia of African American Popular Culture, Blues by Paul Breman, Blues by David Harrison, Quora.com, urbandictionary.com, Blogs.loc.gov, The Ballad Hunter by Alan Lomax, Black Pearls: Blues Queens of the 1920th by Daphne Duval Harrison, jopiepopie.blogspot.nl, redhotjazz.com, The Blues Lyrics Formula by Michael Taft, American Ballads and Folk Songs by Alan Lomax and John Avery Lomax, The Past Is Not Dead: Essays from the  Southern Quarterly by Douglas B. Chambers, EarlyBlues.com, railroad-line.com,  Jason Lee Davis' RailFan Pages , centertruthjustice.org