Soul food expert comes to Shreveport for book signing, headlines 'The Dream Dinner'
The family-style meal will feature signature soul food dishes from Miller's book, like fried catfish and black-eyed peas. It’s a menu that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. would have been fond of, according to Miller.
In researching his book, Miller ate at 150 soul food restaurants in 15 states. He said he’s eager to taste north Louisiana’s version of the traditional food of African Americans passed down through generations.
"There are local specialties that fit within the soul food umbrella, even though people may not quickly identify it as soul food," Miller said. "I think the perfect example is stuffed shrimp in Shreveport. From what I’m hearing, it’s an African American local specialty, so I’m looking forward to trying that.”
Chef Hardette Harris of Minden followed Miller’s soul food odyssey on social media. He dined on her family’s purple-hull peas and her story is in his book. Now, she’s invited him to her chef’s table to celebrate the cuisine. Harris also hopes Saturday’s meal will begin to mend what she sees as a racial divide in her hometown.
“We can’t get the black community and the white community to come together and really gel and do activities together. I think both sides mean well, but for some reason it never sticks," Harris said. "I don’t want this to be a town hall meeting. I don’t have a list of things I want us to discuss. I want us to learn how to be family -- just sit down and share a meal.”
Miller’s book is titled “Soul Food: A Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time.” The book signing is set for Friday, Jan. 17, at the Multicultural Center of the South in Shreveport from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. The Dream Dinner is Saturday, Jan. 18, at The Farm in Minden beginning at 6 p.m.
Miller is a Denver attorney who served as special assistant to President Bill Clinton and currently serves as executive director of the Colorado Council of Churches.