Monday, February 20, 2017

Good for the soul: Food, fellowship on menu for UIS event

With a plate full of good food and surrounded by friends, University of Illinois Springfield junior Eric Hines said he felt back home Sunday night.

Hines was one of more than 50 people who came out Sunday for Soul Glo'/Soul Food at UIS. The event, organized by the school's diversity center, is part of UIS' African-American History Month series.

Hines, from Cicero, loaded up his plate with collard greens, macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, fried catfish, candied yams and salmon croquettes. His first few bites did not disappoint. "This brings back memories of home," he said.

Justin Rose, student program adviser in the diversity center, said Nickey's Place, a new restaurant at White Oaks Mall, catered Sunday's meal. The event also featured an educational booth from Springfield's African-American History Center.

While soul food brings people together, Rose said, the event was much more than just providing a free meal.

"This event allows our student body to re-enact and teach others about fellowship and be communal with one another in a time when we need to be," he said.

Soul food, Rose said, is a cuisine traditionally prepared in the black community, with origins dating back to the era of slavery. Back then, he said, slaves would only get scraps, so they came up with different ways to make the leftovers taste better. "They were very innovative," he said.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 19, 2017.

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