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Regional Differences


guajolote
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Are there any differences in the soul food served in northern US cities such as New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles? I know that a high percentage of African-Americans in Chicago have families who migrated from Mississippi and Tennessee because of the Illinois Central railroad.

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Hi Guajolote,

Close to six million African-Americans left the Deep South and migrated to major cities northward and westward between say, 1919 and the early 1950s, taking along with them food preferences.

I've noticed out in California, that you get the soul food of Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where dishes such as red beans and rice and gumbo and Jambalya reign supreme. Chicago and Detroit serve up boss Alabama and Mississippi barbecue, smoked with hickory wood.

New York City gets South Carolina, offering lots of fish and rice, as well as North Carolina, with macaroni and cheese and white potato dishes, and Virginia, lots of breads and hot cakes, and cornbread often made with sugar! Of all things. But maybe that state is not really in the South.

But all the old standards, such as sweet potatoes, chocolate icing cake, peach cobblers, greens galore, fried and roast chicken, cornbread, dressing, upside down pineapple cake, and banana pudding, went everywhere. And thank God!

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