A few months ago I went to a friend’s birthday dinner at a hot “Southern” restaurant. The place, whose name I won’t mention, is focused on serving home-style suppers -- an array of dishes with which most Southerners would be at least somewhat familiar, particularly if they’re from under the Bible Belt. My wife and I went in expecting, more than anything else, some good comfort food, and on that, they delivered. But when the check arrived, we were surprised to learn that the cost of two cocktails, two appetizers, two main courses, and a shared dessert broke the $100 barrier.
Once I digested the reality of the bill’s total, I was no longer complimenting the decor, the perfect plateware and silver, or the amazing service. All I could think about was how less-soulful I felt. It seemed like I was supporting the overhyping of something that’s supposed to be, by its very nature, void of hype. When did soul food go so Hollywood?
And before you even start to wonder, this isn’t another swipe at hot chicken, my ATL-loving/defending friends. This is much simpler. It’s about Southern “soul” food in general, and how it’s standing in the need of a little soul-searching itself.