I've notice over the past twenty years or so a reluctance within some Soul Food cooking (and eating) circles in utilizing (or eating) pork products. I recall as a child my mother (and Grandmother, Aunts, etc) using ham hocks to season string beans, greens, black eyed peas, etc. Today, many who prepare Soul Food instead use smoked turkey necks to season the aforementioned food items. And amongst Soul Food diners there's an ever present anxiety around pork that I've noticed. I've asked folks about this who ascribe to this trend and they all mention the health benefits of avoiding pork. But if Soul Food is anything it's not "healthy" eating when you consider heavy use of frying and emphasis on starches. So what gives on the pork?
Another question that I had was regarding an apparent truncation of the Soul Food menu particularly within home cooking. Whenever I'm invited for dinner or other gatherings where Soul Food is featured the following 4 items are almost always there:
1) Collard Greens
2) Candied Yams
4) Fried Chicken
In addition to this there's the occasssional Baked Chicken or Fried Fish. But again I recall having Chicken and Dumplings, Liver and Onions, Black Eyed Peas, Rice, Okra & Tomatoes, Lima Bean Stew, and a galaxy of other foods as a child and young adult. Again, what gives?