The Soul Food Identification Quiz



By: Jacqueline Samaroo

6 Min Quiz

Can you name this legume, which is often paired with rice?

Black-eyed peas get their name from their distinctive coloring. They tend to stand out when used in soul food rice-and-peas dishes such as Hoppin' John. Black-eyed peas are also often paired with meats such as ham hocks.


Which crunchy, battered meat dish is shown here?

The roots of the chicken-fried steak are said to lie in German-American cuisine. Soul food connoisseurs know that there is no chicken in this dish, nor was it fried by a chicken! It gets its name from the fact that it is cooked like and resembles pan-fried chicken breasts.


What is the name of this fishy dish which contains celery, sweet peppers and onions (aka The Holy Trinity)?

Gumbo can be made with several different types of meat, but seafood gumbo is among the most popular. The characteristic thickness of the dish is quite often a result of okra being added, but other thickeners can be used as well.


Do you know which pasta-based dish is shown here?

It’s fairly obvious that macaroni and cheese is not a soul food creation – the dish actually originated in England. You would be hard pressed, however, to find a soul food family feast that does not include a heaping helping of this classic dish.


Which pastry is shown in this image?

Corn has grown in abundance in the Southern states for centuries, and it is no surprise that it makes its way into much of the food from the region. Cornbread is one such food. It is prepared in many variations, including being cooked in a skillet and having crackling (roasted or fried pork rind) added.


Which variation of cornbread is shown here?

The hoecake is another soul food item with Native American roots, said to be based on a type of Native American corn fritter. Other names for the hoecake (or hoe cake) are johnnycake and Shawnee cake.


Can you name this slimy vegetable?

Okra enters soul food cuisine from West African origins. It is typically slimy and is thus added to stews (such as gumbo) as a thickener. It is also often served sautéed or fried.


Can you name the sweet pastry shown here?

The distinguishing feature of monkey bread is that it is many different loaves that are easily pulled apart by hand. The effect is achieved by dipping individual balls of dough in butter before coating them in cinnamon, raisins, nuts, etc. The balls are then overlapped in a pan for baking.


Which breaded seafood is shown in this photo?

Fried foods are fairly common in soul food, with deep frying being a popular cooking method. Fried fish is typically battered with a cornmeal mixture before frying.


Can you name the fruity dessert shown here?

Cobbler makes its way into soul food cuisine via the English settlers from early European colonies in the Americas. It is typically made with sweet fruits such as blackberry or peach, cooked with both an upper and lower crust and then served with a scoop of ice cream.


Do you know the name of this ever-present vegetable?

Collard greens, or simply collards, are related to both cabbage and broccoli, but they get a special place of honor among soul foods. This green leafy vegetable is often prepared with smoked, salty and typically fatty meat added in.


Do you recognize the sweet dessert item shown here?

Caramel cake is a classic Southern dessert. It often includes a simple caramel frosting or may have other flavors and textures blended in, such as cream cheese. Some recipes call for a whipped cream frosting instead.


Can you identify the fruity dish shown here?

This layered dessert ranks high among the comfort food dishes in soul food cuisine. It is traditionally made with ripe bananas, vanilla custard and vanilla wafers, and is sometimes prepared and served in mason jars.


Which vegetable dish is shown in this photo?

Mustard greens, collard greens and turnip greens each have their own distinct flavor and are often prepared in similar fashion. It is also not unusual for all three to be combined in one dish.


Do you know what these deep-fried dumplings are called?

Hush puppies are another example of the many Native American contributions to soul food cuisine. They are a common side dish but are most popularly served with seafood or barbecued meats.


What is the name of this sweet potato treat?

The term "candied yams" refers to sweet potatoes that have been boiled, have spices added and are then baked. Although the dish is called candied yams, the yam is actually a different plant and unrelated to sweet potato.


Can you identify this grain-based dish?

Soul food is influenced by the cuisine of several different cultures. This can be seen by the inclusion of grits, which has Native American origins, as one of the staple dishes among soul foods.


Which tasty side dish is shown in this photo?

The red beans in this dish are typically kidney beans that have been slow cooked. They are not mixed into the rice but served over and alongside it instead. The dish is classic Louisiana Creole fare.


What is the name of the dessert shown in this photo?

The sweet potato features prominently in soul food cuisine. They can be served fried, as candied yams or made into the iconic sweet potato pie, which gets a place of honor on most Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner tables.


Do you know which meat dish is in this photo?

Just as its name suggest, fatback is fat found under the skin on the back of the pig. It can be served breaded and fried or used to add seasoning and unique flavor to other dishes, such as vegetables and beans.


What is the name of this meaty dish whose name comes from a word meaning mix-up or mish mash?

Jambalaya is associated with traditional Louisiana cooking and bears some resemblance to gumbo – minus the okra and with rice added. Its roots are found in the Mediterranean, particularly in the Mediterranean regions of France and Spain.


What is the name of this popular holiday side dish?

Cornbread dressing might be referred to as cornbread stuffing in some northern states, but either way, it’s certain to be just as great! It is hardly ever actually cooked inside a turkey or chicken, though it is used as a side dish instead in many Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts.


What is the name of this nutty dish?

Pecan pie is another soul food classic that you are certain to find around Thanksgiving and Christmas. The most popular toppings for this distinctly Southern dish are vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.


Can you name this crunchy seafood dish?

Several types of fish are referred to as catfish, thanks to their whisker-like barbels. Regardless of the type, however, catfish is popularly coated with a cornmeal batter and fried. The common accompaniment for Southern-fried catfish is a batch of hush puppies.


Can you name this dish of fried Irish potatoes?

Hash browns were originally known as “hashed browned potatoes.” Over the years, the name became shorter (and easier to say), so today we have “hash browns.”


Which sweet and savory combination is shown here?

Breaded and deep-fried chicken is popular throughout the Southern states. Fried chicken and waffles, however, is a distinctly soul food variation. The two items may seem mismatched at first, but their unique combination is beloved by fans of soul food cuisine.


Do you know the name of this leafy vegetable which is an excellent source of several vitamins?

Turnip greens are cooked in the same fashion as mustard greens and collard greens. They can be bitter, however, which prompts some people to add sugar to the dish. Most people cook their turnip greens in bacon fat and add some sort of salted pork as well.


Which dish based on pork offal is shown here?

This dish makes its way into the realm of soul food by way of European cuisine. It is pork intestines that are cleaned, cooked and served in a variety of ways. Calling it “chitterlings” might make you sound all fancy – much more down-home to say “chit’lins” instead!


Which sweet and fruity dessert is shown in this picture?

Like other types of cobbler, peach cobbler originated as a trail-friendly version of pie. Peaches, which were introduced to the Americas in the 16th century by Spanish explorers, are the state fruit of South Carolina, and Georgia is popularly known as the Peach State.


Can you name this usually barbecued meat?

Pork ribs can be cooked in several ways, but they are more often than not barbecued when part of a soul food meal. This is traditionally done over a barbecue pit, but oven-baked barbecue ribs are also quite popular.


What is the name of this dessert item whose name hides its sweetness?

Sour cream pound cake is like regular pound cake but with a whole heap of extra goodness added in, thanks to the sour cream! It is a rich, buttery and tender dessert, recipes for which are passed down through families just as with many other soul food dishes.


What is the name of the pork dish shown here?

Pork is a very popular meat within soul food, with various cuts of pork being used in distinctive dishes. Ham hock (or pig knuckle) is covered in skin and has plenty of ligaments and tendon, making it ideal for stews. It is often accompanied by black-eyed peas.


Which mashed and mushy dish is shown here?

Like many other corn dishes in the Southern states, creamed corn has its roots in Native American cuisine. The corn may be roasted first, and some recipes call for the addition of both milk and sugar.


Do you know the name of these crusty yet fluffy treats?

Cat head biscuits are said to get their name from their size – roughly about the same as a cat’s head. They are prepared from cold ingredients so that as they bake, the outside forms a thick crust while the inside remains soft and fluffy.


Which vegetable dish is shown in this picture?

Cabbage rolls are popular in Louisiana Creole cuisine. The stuffing is typically made from ground pork, rice and vegetables.


What is this meaty and fried combination of foods called?

Chicken and dumplings is a simple yet hearty meal considered by many to be a perfect example of both comfort food and soul food. The complexity of the dish can be increased by adding vegetables to the chicken broth and by incorporating herbs into the dough used to make the dumplings.


What is the name of these sweet battered items which are cooked in hot bubbling oil?

Sweet potatoes are very versatile and are incorporated into many soul food dishes. When deep fried, they are often served sprinkled with salt, sugar or a combination of both.


Do you know the name of this pork snack?

Pigs' feet can be cooked in a variety of ways, but pickling them holds a special place in Southern cuisine. Once prepared and locked inside the jar, there is usually no need for the pickled pigs' feet to be refrigerated until you open the jar to have a snack!


Can you name this slow-cooked meat dish?

Soul food very often consists of smoked pork meats, such as ham hocks and hog jowls. Another favorite is pork shoulder, which is often smoked with hickory wood chips for flavor and used as pulled pork.


Do you know what this rice-and-peas dish is called?

Hoppin’ John is typically made out of black-eyed peas and rice with some sort of salted meat added. The dish originated along the South Carolina coast and spread throughout the other Southern states.


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Image: Photo by Cathy Scola/Moment/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Have you got soul? Get ready to explore some of the most satisfying culinary creations on the planet! 

Soul food desserts tend to be the ultimate in comfort food. Many of them make full use of in-season fruits and timeless recipes to create delectable sweet treats. Some of these desserts are associated with the holidays, but there's no need to wait a whole year to enjoy them. Any reason is good enough to start dicing, mixing and baking your favorite soul-food-inspired deserts! Are you wondering if we have your favorite one in the quiz?

When it comes to soul food, it's definitely time to pig out! It seems no cut of pork is wasted, as every little bit gets incorporated into something savory and totally filling. Just take a moment to think of all those porky soul food dishes you know -- bet you never realized there were so many of them! Good thing is, we have a bunch of the most mouthwatering ones waiting for you in this quiz -- so you had better start chomping away at it!

If you are a connoisseur of down-home soul food cooking, then you will certainly savor working your way through this quiz. Stop drooling already and dive in!

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