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These delicious soul food recipes from authors Marrekus and Krysten Wilkes of Cooks with Soul honor the roots of Black American cuisine!

Soul food recipes
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Hi, it’s Marrekus and Krysten, the husband and wife team from Cooks with Soul. We are excited to team up with A Couple Cooks to share with you our favorite soul food recipes and honor the roots of Black American cuisine!

As food bloggers, we must acknowledge the impact of Black Americans on our food heritage, from the African diaspora to the modern kitchen. Our goal is to preserve family recipes that have been passed down through multiple generations, many of which carry cultural and regional significance.

Follow Cooks with Soul on Instagram, sign up for their Substack newsletter, and find their recipes at

Cooks with Soul Marrekus and Krysten Wilkes

Our history

Both of us grew up with a parent who worked in the food industry as cooks and caterers. However, our connection, experiences, relationships, and cultural ties with food have roots that reach much further back in time. 

During the Great Migration when six million Black Americans fled the South to escape racial segregation and discrimination to places like Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, Black individuals not only created new foodways but also passed down food traditions.

My (Krysten) grandmother’s grandparents, for example, ran a boarding house during the movement. They provided Black travelers with shelter and food, and gave them homemade meals to carry on the rest of their journey. 

Marrekus, who was raised in Memphis, spent his summers in Mississippi, raising chickens and hogs, and cultivating vegetables in his grandfather’s garden. Those hot days picking butter beans, purple hull peas, and collard greens shaped not only his connection to the land but also his approach to food. It’s where the journey from farm to table began for him – a concept rooted in Black American culture long before it became a trendy buzzword.

These early experiences have shaped not just our individual relationships with food but also our understanding of the importance of family meals. The essence of our history and connection to food is deeply ingrained, reflecting not only our parents’ influences but also the broader tapestry of our cultural and familial heritage with soul food. 

Soul food

Soul food is more than just a menu; it’s a sense of familiarity that we share with our ancestors. It runs from taking what was once considered the less desirable cuts of meat, like oxtails, and turning them into culinary masterpieces, down to the alchemy of spices and cooking methods from countries in Africa.

In our kitchen, soul food is just as much fried chicken as it is collard greens and black-eyed peas. It’s also macaroni and cheese and cornbread and red beans and rice, all of which include African, European, and Native American contributions.

Each of these recipes tells stories – of survival, of joy, and a rich cultural heritage. So, as we embark on Black History Month, let’s not just cook; let’s create, celebrate, and remember.

Marrekus and Krysten Wilkes are the husband and wife duo behind Cooks with Soul. Marrekus, a Memphis native and retired Airman, creates soul food and barbecue recipes, and Krysten is a food photographer and writer. Together, they balance their roles as a blogging team and a blended family of eight. Currently, they reside in Maryland.

Follow Cooks with Soul on Instagram, and sign up for their Substack newsletter!

And now, for the soul food recipes!

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Soul food recipes

10 Soul Food Recipes to Celebrate Black History

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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 1 hour 1x


These delicious soul food recipes from authors Marrekus and Krysten Wilkes of Cooks with Soul honor the roots of Black American cuisine!


  • 2 cups cavatappi (or elbow macaroni, shells, etc.)
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk, room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups half & half, room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 8-ounce block mild cheddar, shredded, room temperature
  • 1 8-ounce block Monterey jack, shredded, room temperature
  • 1 8-ounce block sharp cheddar, shredded, room temperature
  • 8 ounces whole milk shredded mozzarella cheese, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (start with less and adjust to taste if using any other type of salt)
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper


  • Category: 8 to 10 servings
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Dewona says:

    OMG u guys got me hungry all these foods are my favorite that I have cooked within the last month or so. But trust I am gonna try it u guys way. I will let you know.

  2. Sabrina says:

    love all of these, including the pie, thank you!