Soul Food (and Parontha) Junkies

As a continuation of the conversation initiated by Navdeep’s post “Fatting it Up at the Langar Hall,” I want to share this the trailer for Soul Food Junkies, a film-in-progress directed by African American filmmaker and activist Byron Hurt.

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The parallels to the challenges we face in the Punjabi community were striking to me as I watched the trailer. Obesity and diabetes are epidemics in the African American community, just as they are in our community, both in Punjab and the diaspora. And there is no doubt of the central role that diet plays for us all.

Hurt’s film on soul food seems so promising because it recognizes and validates the centrality of food to a people’s culture and to building community. Yet it still calls into question the unhealthy aspects of culturally reinforced ways of cooking and eating. Just as we’re beginning to have conversations in our community about making langar healthier by using olive oil instead of ghee and putting less sugar in our cha, so too is this conversation happening among African Americans. Food justice activist and chef Bryant Terry, who is featured in Hurt’s film, is popularizing vegan soul food, for example, through which he holds onto the important cultural dimensions of soul food but reinvents it so it doesn’t only feel good for the soul, but for the heart (organ) too.

Though the struggles we have in the Punjabi-Sikh community have their particularities, we are certainly not alone. There is much we can learn from other communities grappling with similar questions of maintaining culture and tradition while living and eating more healthfully and sustainably. I look forward to the completion of the making of Soul Food Junkies and suspect we will be able to learn a lot from it. And perhaps make our own film focusing on Punjabi food soon. Working title: Parontha Junkies?

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2 Responses to “Soul Food (and Parontha) Junkies”

  1. Yes, fat overtaken in common problem. Thanks for this article

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