Adrian Miller, Author and Soul Food Scholar
The line is probably long, there’s probably a plastic tray and some styrofoam cups, but when you open the door on a true soul food restaurant, all those details melt away with the scent of fried chicken, barbecue, or macaroni and cheese. There’s no curated soundtrack here, no beverage director, but an extra slice of cake is exactly what the doctor ordered. This is the spot, actually the spots, all across the country where author and scholar Adrian Miller tasted and tested his theories about the ultimate soul food meal. He came to his love of the cuisine honestly (it was the food he grew up eating), and at one point he even considered opening a soul food restaurant. However, this former lawyer who worked in the Clinton White House found his path when he penned Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time. Now he’s @soulfoodscholar on Twitter, a barbecue judge, and has just released his second book, The President’s Kitchen Cabinet, which is about the African Americans who fed our first families. We sat down for a recent chat at Terra Vita in Chapel Hill, NC, or as he says, we sat down “to break cornbread together.” It’s another cornbread reference on another episode, but get ready to see everything from okra to Kool-Aid with new eyes.