Soul Food Junkies

“Soul Food Junkies” from Independent Lens is a film I think we can all relate to.  I grew up in a “clean your plate” household.  Dad worked hard for the food that was put in front of you so you better not leave any behind.  This was perhaps not a good combination as it was also a German household with lots of hearty meat and potato foods.  Like Byron Hurt, the filmmaker, just as I start to get a handle on making better choices a family visit pops up and all bets are off once again!

It’s not easy, and in Hurt’s case his questioning starts because of his father’s unwillingness to give up his high-fat, calorie-laden traditional soul food diet, in the face of a life-threatening health crisis. The young son begins to wonder if this soul food diet is nurturing or destroying the African-American community.

I really like his approach in this film.  It’s a wonderful look at the history of soul food and some of the modern-day obstacles to getting healthy. I think Hurt does a great job is presenting his point with humor, sincerity and in a way that anyone who has a weakness for good down home comfort food can relate to.

“Independent Lens: Soul Food Junkie” airs Sunday, January 20 at 10pm with an encore presentation Friday, January 25 at 1am on WOSU TV.