We come from scratch: we come from a people who, ripped from their respective lands in Africa and enslaved on this one, recreated our lives and nourished our souls with what was available to us—including our faith. Through the hardships wrought by that peculiar institution and its offspring Jim Crow, we scratched out our paths to freedom to lands such as Detroit. We nourished our travels—full of travails and triumphs—with Grandma’s hopes and dreams of a better world, of other suns, packed in shoebox lunches and Green Book diners.
We gathered each Sunday dinner after our souls were made whole by the balm of good preaching and good singing, each family reunion where Motown was our city soundscape and our soundtrack, each repast where we hugged and cried in knowing our departed would be held in the palm of His hand. We assembled to celebrate our being here through it all and those who have go on to glory by sharing the food that helped us survive the decimations of desegregation, Devil’s Night, and the Detroit auto industry.And now we are here, cooking and catering the very food that helped us survive it all. In remembrance of our yesterdays and in celebrating our tomorrows, we prepare our food so we—as a people, as neighbors, as fellow Detroiters--can thrive, using locally sourced food and healthier cooking methods.
Following the edict of our faith, which has brought us a mighty long way, let us assemble ourselves and eat together in neighborly love at Detroit Soul!
About Detroit Soul
Detroit Soul is an indwelling spirit made clear in the nourishment of love.
Our grandmothers bequeathed us the practice of feeding our extensive family as they, our mother, and our other female relatives convened in the kitchen and around the grill during our annual family reunions in Alabama for so many Julys. They infused the food that started as the meat scraps from slavemasters’ slaughterhouses--along with seeds cultivated from Indigenous people and their lands and smuggled from African nations through enslaved women’s intricate braiding--with cooking traditions and spices synthesized from Indigenous, African, Caribbean, and Western European cultures. These women got up early and gave thanks before fueling us children with blessed 7AM breakfasts and high-noon lunches. In the meantime, they fried, marinated, baked, broiled, boiled, and barbecued love into every dinner morsel we savored and shared over laughter and recollections.
Those memories traveled back with us to Detroit. As we matured, so did our abiding affection for the fare of our foreparents. We cultivated that love and our culinary skills through the practice of catering for our families, be they of birth, the church, or the neighborhood. Our practice of setting food before our communities became--by brick, by mortar, by passion, and by faith--Detroit Soul in 2015.
Thanks to the love and faith that our communities have reciprocated since we have opened our doors, we will soon offer a place in the Jefferson/Chalmers neighborhood where all who enter will have a place to sit and commune over the food that nourishes our bodies and edifies our souls!