Psalm 117:1-2(NIV) Praise the Lord, all you nations! Extol him, all you peoples! For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!
Diversity. That’s one of the best words that I can think of to describe Miami. Stepping into the Miami culture has definitely had its pros and cons. However one thing is absolutely certain, and that is the fact that those who reside here are very proud of where they come from. There are a wide variety of countries that are represented here, which creates a very diverse and unique environment. Shortly after moving here, I can remember being referred to as an American for the first time. Once that happened, I knew right away that I had somehow managed to travel to another country without ever leaving the country I was already in. No passport was needed for this trip! It’s always a pleasure meeting people from different backgrounds, and especially nice trying out the different foods they bring to the table. The food in Miami is without a doubt one of the pros of living in the area. Based on what I’ve tried so far, the Cuban and Jamaican cuisines are two of my favorites. I’m looking forward to tasting the flavors of Haiti real soon, because I heard it’s so delicious.
Living in this area and being African American I have been asked about collard greens on a few occasions. “Do I eat them?” Do I cook them?” “How do I cook them?” I’ve been around collard greens all my life, and growing up I don’t think one Sunday went by at my house where the aroma of collard greens, which from here on out I’ll just affectionately call “greens”, could not be smelled throughout our house . I mean, as soon as you walked through the door you would know right away they had been cooked or were cooking. My parents were both born and raised in South Carolina, so I became convinced at an early age that the best greens cookers in the world had to come from South Carolina (and the best grits cookers too). I loved their greens, which they usually served over rice. I can even remember my Dad telling me what his secret ingredient was, which I guess I’ll keep a secret. I was also very fond of my cousin Lene’s greens too, who by the way was also from South Carolina. I have many wonderful cooks in my family and family gatherings to me are always a special treat. Everything from the fried chicken to the mac and cheese, from the mac and cheese to the candied yams, from the candied yams to the cornbread and from the cornbread to the sweet potato pies and every good and tasty thing in between all of these. And of course I could never forget my cousin Bertha’s rice and gravy, which brought much delight to my stomach as a young girl. Food is a catalyst for bringing people together no matter who you are or where you come from, and although “Soul Food” is an important part of African American culture so is love, pride, strength, and family. These are some of the main ingredients that have existed in my family for years and have seasoned our African American culture for generations and will do so for generations to come.
Love: When you love God, love yourself and love people there is no limit to where life will take you.
Pride: Being proud of who you are and having confidence in yourself will destroy barriers you never even knew existed.
Strength: Strength is not the act of ignoring pain and weakness. Strength comes when we allow God to heal our pain and help us to overcome the weaknesses that are holding us back.
Family: The love and support of family will keep you lifted in good times and bad. Family is everything.
I am proud to be African American. No matter who you are or where you come from, always remember that being true to yourself while respecting the cultural differences of others will help make our world a better place. Life is not a competition. It’s a journey and every person’s journey is unique. Safe travels!
Tell me in the comments, what’s your favorite Soul Food?