Immigrant Culinary Influences
You probably know that American food is a hodgepodge of the recipes of indigenous, slave, and immigrant people. The first brown people to share with early American settlers were the Native Americans who shared corn, tomatoes, squash, and beans in addition to farming practices. When Columbus eventually landed in America, he took advantage of what the Native Americans had already been doing and began to trade their dietary staples.
When Black people were forced into slavery, they brought with them African crops like okra, red peas, black-eyed peas, and other food items. Slaves also brought with them methods of cooking meats such as steaming, frying, boiling, and creating then stews with hot peppers. The term "Soul Food" became the label given to the recipes created by slaves from their unique cooking methods and at one time that label was derogatory. However, since then restaurants and celebrated chefs have built empires by offering historically African soul food recipes to the public.