C&IS Common Read: Soul Food by Adrian Miller

Mar 15, 2021

C&IS is hosting a common read of the book Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time by Adrian Miller. The common read will kick off the week of March 15 and conclude on April 12.

Miller describes his book as a love letter to African American cooks, and his hope is that after reading his book, anyone will be able to prepare a soul food meal and understand its cultural context. In each chapter, he seeks to answer the following questions: What is the food item? How did it get on the soul food plate? What does the food item mean for African American Culture?

C&IS plans to read Soul Food during March and April before joining Miller for a Zoom call on April 12. Ideally, group read participants will join the call from their dining room tables, where they will be eating a meal they prepared themselves from the book.

The common read project is part of C&IS diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. The idea was proposed by C&IS instructor, Jay Waters (Advertising and Public Relations) to present a topic and a book that would provide the maximum opportunity for engagement, conversation and reflection.

“Food and foodways is an underappreciated pathway to understanding history, culture and conflict,” said Waters. “It can be an eye-opening experience to hear that the foods you eat – something you don’t think much about – tells a story that illuminates literally centuries of human experience, while challenging your own view of the world.”

This project is funded by the College of Communication and Information Sciences to enhance its strategic priority to provide a learning environment that promotes diversity, equity, leadership and service.

If you are interested in reading along with C&IS, you can learn more by clicking here. If you are part of the C&IS family and would like to request a free copy of the book, click here.

About Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time:

In this insightful and eclectic history, Adrian Miller delves into the influences, ingredients, and innovations that make up the soul food tradition. Focusing each chapter on the culinary and social history of one dish–such as fried chicken, chitlins, yams, greens, and “red drinks”–Miller uncovers how it got on the soul food plate and what it means for African American culture and identity.

About the Author:

Adrian Miller is a writer, attorney, and certified barbecue judge who lives in Denver, CO. He served as a special assistant to President Bill Clinton, a senior policy analyst for Colorado Governor Bill Ritter Jr., and a Southern Foodways Alliance board member.

In the University of Alabama’s College of Communication and Information Sciences, diversity is celebrated, appreciated and embraced. As outlined in the College’s Diversity Plan, C&IS encourages the exploration and appreciation of diversity in everything from College-wide communication to the classes in our curriculum and student organizations designed to build leadership skills in the area of diversity. To learn more about diversity, equity and inclusion at C&IS visit cis.ua.edu/diversity