Denver, Colorado, is not exactly soul-food central -- but it's the home of Adrian Miller, the man who wrote the book on soul food: Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine One Plate at a Time. That book, published by the University of North Carolina Press last summer, won the 2014 James Beard Foundation Award for Reference and Scholarship earlier this month and has already gone through three printings -- but Miller isn't resting on his laurels.
And those laurels are considerable: Not only is Miller an attorney (Stanford University and Georgetown Law graduate) and accomplished politico -- he worked for both President Bill Clinton and Governor Bil Ritter --, but he's currently the executive director of the Colorado Council of Churches -- and a certified barbecue judge.
For his next project, Miller will be drawing on that White House experience to realize a longtime dream. He's just kicked off a Kickstarter campaign to raise $10,000 for The President's Kitchen Cabinet, a TV documentary that will celebrate "the rich legacy of African American presidential chefs." Here's the word from the "Soul Food Scholar" on that Kickstarter page:
Did you know that every U.S. president, from Washington to Obama, has had African Americans cooking in their kitchen--many times serving as the head chef? That's right, and we have their stories and their recipes! We want to share these with others in an hour-long television documentary film called "The President's Kitchen Cabinet" (TPKC). The story of these dynamic chefs is a complex and thrilling aspect of American history that has been largely ignored--until now.
TPKC provides a groundbreaking, entertaining and detailed look at these chefs, their intricate personal and professional relationships with the presidents, the first families, their cooking equipment and techniques, and the mouth-watering recipes for which they were celebrated. After watching TPKC, you'll discover that these cooks were not only culinary artists, but they also served our presidents as personal confidantes, informal policy advisors, civil rights advocates and family friends. Given their amazing experiences, African American presidential chefs have a unique perspective on the American presidency and the White House that remains undocumented. Their story needs to be told, and we can make that happen with your support!
Find out how you can help here. And not only has Miller come up with some tasty rewards for donating, but he'll spit some fascinating facts. For example, can you guess which president loved pig's feet so much that he served them in the White House?
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It's probably not who you would suspect, Miller notes. But then, life is full of surprises -- as his own career definitely shows.