The history of pepper pot soup, consumed by millions of Americans throughout the 20th century, does not begin with Andy Warhol’s famous canned soup painting (sold for a record $11.7 million); or Camden’s Campbell’s Soup Company (which mass-marketed it); or a white soldier in George Washington’s Valley Forge army (credited for centuries as its creator).
It hails from West Africa and the Caribbean, but became a signature dish here in Philadelphia, where black women made and sold it by the bowlful on the streets from colonial times through the early 20th Century.
Listen here for the true story of Philly’s pepper pot soup:
And then watch me on ABC’s The Chew, where I talk about being a food historian and show off my own version of this family favorite:
Tonya Hopkins, aka The Food Griot, founded the nonfiction story-telling platform, “The Food Griot: Sharing Savory Stories on The Makings of American Cuisine, (Cocktails)…” She has researched and written for several scholarly and consumer publications and appears regularly on radio and television. Her work in culinary history activism aims to help disenfranchised, mostly black and brown food/drink industry professionals achieve greater inclusion, equity and wholesome empowerment. Follow @TheFoodGriot on: Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.The header photo is a cropped version of John Lewis Krimmel's "Pepper-Pot: A Scene in the Philadelphia Market," which is owned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art