NEW YORK (WLNY) — Buttery biscuits, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, cheesy grits — these are all staples of Southern food, also known as “soul food.”

Now, one award-winning documentary filmmaker takes a close look at the origins of soul food.

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Byron Hurt grew up eating lots of grits and scrambled eggs covered with cheese, buttered biscuits smothered with gravy, bacon, collard greens seasoned with ham hocks, fried pork chops, macaroni and cheese, deep-fried chicken, fried fish, barbecue chicken and ribs, candied yams coated with cinnamon and brown sugar, and other traditional, delicious — but fatty — foods.


Some soul food, depending on how it is prepared, can be good for you. But when it is cooked with lots of fat, sugar, and salt – which is often the case – it can lead to obesity and other health issues.

Hurt can speak from personal experience. From his earliest memories, his father was overweight, his mom the soul food chef. As an adult, growing concern about his father’s health prompted Hurt to confront him about his eating habits, but to no avail. Eventually, his father made small changes to his diet and began to exercise more, but the changes came too late in his life. In 2004, doctors diagnosed him with terminal pancreatic cancer, a virulent disease that disproportionately affects black people.

For information, visit Byron’s website,

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