Discover the African American Food Culture

african american food culture

When most people say they’re from the “hetto”, this is what they are referring to the stereotypical food you usually eat at sub-standard restaurants. For many years, African American families in the United States have maintained their own cuisine that has evolved into recipes and cooking styles unique to them. If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s time to do so.

African American Families Didn’t Appear Of Thin Air

A little boy sitting on a table

The truth is that many African Americans came from cultures where food was essential to survival. Many were farmers or fishermen who left behind a rich history of food culture that is now used today by African Americans to make everything from chicken dishes to rice to sorbets. The legacy of the African slaves who were brought to the new America had a profound impact on food development in the new country. That impact continues today and is celebrated in the African American food culture that has come to be known as Southern food.

There Are So Many Choices

A close up of food on a table

One of the great things about African American food culture is that there are so many choices. African Americans have been making and sharing of traditional foods for thousands of years. Because of that, there are a wide variety of foods from West Africa and the Caribbean to Mexico to Australia, which are now making their way to restaurant tables all over the U.S. Even some foods from southern Africa are starting to make their way into the American diet.

What African American families learned from the slaves of the past is that fresh vegetables and fruits, combined with meats and seafood, provided the nourishment they needed. Over time, those same traditional foods began to change to adapt to new conditions. Those changes included spices, smells and even names. Today, there are many African American chefs who are using the cooking traditions of their people and the spices they brought with them to create exciting new foods.

Visit Local Owned And Operated Grocery Store

One of the best ways to get ideas for new food is to visit your local African American owned and operated grocery store. That’s where you’ll find the greatest variety. Not only will you be able to see the different varieties of meat and seafood that are now popular among African Americans, but you can also talk to an experienced saleslady. While you’re there, ask questions about your food culture and what the specials are that they have going on.


Today, more restaurants are catering to African American tastes. That means there’s a wide selection of cuisine to choose from. Because of this, dining out is becoming increasingly popular. Since there is a large number of people of African descent in America, you can expect to find many restaurants that serve these types of foods. So the next time you reach for that pizza, turn down the tap and enjoy an African American-influenced recipe.

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