Monique Y. Wells edits the blog Les Amis de Beauford Delaney, and is a long-time resident of Paris, France. She is co-owner of Discover Paris! – Personalized Itineraries for Independent Travelers (www.discoverparis.net), and a freelance travel writer, editor and author. Two of Ms. Wells books include Paris Reflections and Food for the Soul.
About Food for the Soul:
…a beautifully illustrated book of soulful dishes that embodies the spirit of (Wells’) native roots and her love of food. — Black Issues Book Review, Nov-Dec 2002
MONIQUE Y. WELLS’S FOOD FOR THE SOUL is a delightful cookbook that combines history and family recipes with food. — Texas Monthly.com, Books that Cook, March 2002
Miss Grace’s Chicken and Onions shows how some traditional soul food dishes resemble the simple elegance of French cooking. — Damon Lee Fowler, Savannah Morning News, July 23, 2003
Food for the Soul is a tribute to African Americans, their history, their culture, and their cuisine. The author, Monique Y. Wells, was initially inspired to write a book for African Americans in Paris who wanted a taste of home while living abroad. It was to be a simple collection of recipes and a list of indoor and outdoor markets, American grocers and other places where hard-to-find ingredients could be obtained. However, the project evolved and became a labor of love – for family, for cooking, and for history.
Wells honors her family and its origins in virtually every page of this book, recounting the memories associated with many of the recipes that she presents. She speaks of her mother’s Louisiana roots and the initiative that her mother took to preserve the recipes that her family brought to Texas from Louisiana. She talks of the pride and care that her father, a native Texan, takes in his barbecue – The Best Barbecue in the World! She also celebrates the tracing of her roots through her maternal grandfather’s Creole family back to the Bordeaux region of France.
If you were never quite sure about the difference between sweet potatoes and yams, or wondered where okra came from, you need look no further. Food for the Soul presents such information on several ingredients commonly used in soul food dishes as well as the origins of certain dishes. The introductory section also discusses the effects of European conquest, in particular the slave trade, on culinary habits around the world, the meaning of the word “creole”, and the distinction between the origins and gastronomic culture of Cajuns and Creoles.
Food for the Soul was named Best Nonfiction Book of 2001 by the Sistah Circle Book Club.
Beauford Delaney was a consummate artist and a humble, warm-hearted man. He was a great teacher and a great listener. He was psychologically troubled, yet a profound inspiration to many. His life and his talent were gifts to the world. He was born on December 30, 1901 in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA and died on March 26, 1979 in Paris, France.