Though this traditional African-American fare has long been popular in the South, the term itself is relatively new (circa 1960). The expression "soul food" is thought to have derived from the cultural spirit and soul-satisfying flavors of black-American food. Some of the dishes commonly thought of as soul food include ham hocks, grits, chitterlings, black-eyed peas and collard greens.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.