“Soul-Food and Relationships” – What’s The Connection?


By Howard Lovely, Jr.

As I understand it,…during slavery times in the American Southern States,…my Great GrandMother and other individuals made do with what they were given in terms of food. When the owner of a plantation butchered an animal,…many of the parts were considered waste or unfit for consumption and often times were given to the slaves. Being creative as they always were and continued to be,…cooks put into food their heart, mind, spirit, pain, desires and ingenuity to say the least. Once throw-away animals parts such as pig-tails, pig-ears, guts (chitlins), pig feet  and ribs that had very little meat on them,…would all be paired up with other simple items such as cooked greens. In any other country these simple items would be called peasant-food but in this country it’s known as Soul-Food. Though it has been at least fourteen years since I last cleaned a five-pound bucket of slippery foul-smelling pig guts,…with the business end of a butter knife,…only to end up with about two pounds of edible chitlins,…there is nothing like that nose twisting fragrant aroma of fresh pig intestine. Have mercy on my nose so that my taste buds can rejoice at dinner time…! And don’t forget the hot sauce, cole-slaw and cornbread…! For me,…Soul-Food is a metaphor in terms of my views on relationships of all types (personal, amorous, food, health, spiritual,..etc.,.) at this time in my life. Just like those foul-smelling pig intestines or other scraps of food,…amorous relationships can often times come with their on bits and pieces of “fat”, “foul-smelling crap package” and a “core structure” that seemingly has no meat on it much like a slab of ribs. An individual such as myself may appear this way while overwhelmed with dis-ease as a result of a complex anxiety disorder such as PTSD. Nevertheless,..with a little ingenuity,…that foul-smelling gut wrenching dis-ease (depression, anxiety,..etc.,.) can potentially yield life-sustaining lessons that can / may propel a person forward in ways unimaginable while dwelling in this often times darkness of dispar. Take note of that individual that seems to have nothing going for them but bits of “meaty” character clinging to their spirit,…much like a raw slab of ribs consisting of more bone than meat,…but once cooked up slow and low over the fire of passion,…can yield a mind-blowing feast for the person who is cleaver and alert enough to see the value. Under the most dire circumstances,…many slaves such as my Great GrandMother survived,…I’m proof as such,…as I type these words. I have faith that any relationship,…individualized or as a pair-bond,…can survive with a willing participant(s). Consider putting a little Soul-Food into your relationship with yourself,…and / or your significant other.

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