Health Concerns

The Search For Sustainable Soul Food in L.A.

Simply Wholesome on Slauson
Simply Wholesome on Slauson Photo: Simply Wholesome/Facebook

Fried chicken and crispy pig ears are among today’s current rages in L.A., while South L.A. is still a hot-spot for Southern soul food. But in a town closely associated with healthy diets, it may come as only a small surprise that the town is talking about a healthier approach to such dishes. Today, the L.A. Times talks with Byron Hurt, the filmmaker behind a new televised documentary called “Soul Food Junkies” that explores the traditional Southern diet and its impact on health and culture. Hurt tells the paper, “It’s hard for people to wrap their head around making modifications to something they grew up with, but if we open ourselves to the possibility that we can make those changes and it can still be good.” No sooner does Hurt speak than Intersections South L.A. reminds readers of Simply Wholesome, the longstanding, fresh take on soul food in Windsor Hills.

Since 1981, owner Percell Keeling has been selling health-food with African American and Angeleno tastes in mind. Moving the business into a much-larger diner space in 1995, Keeling’s shelves are stocked with healthy grains, frozen foods, and cereals, while the menu features Caribbean patties and enchiladas with vegetables and chicken, meat-free burgers, and a “Down Home Sunday Dinner with battered or grilled tofu, chicken, or fish, with candied yams, greens, rice, and corn bread.” 45 fresh fruit smoothies based on soy milk or coconut juice are also on offer.

Keeling, who currently enjoys a wide base of customers from a range of backgrounds, tells the paper, “Everyone was saying to open the restaurant further west because black people don’t eat healthy…But I’m black and I eat healthy!”

[5 Questions: Byron Hurt seeks a soul food renewal [LAT]
Southside Stories: A melting pot of healthy flavors [Intersections South L.A.]

The Search For Sustainable Soul Food in L.A.