Real Women | Alice Randall | A Word on Words | NPT

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(typewriter tapping) (bell pinging) (soft pop music) – I think the quintessentialsoul food meal is baked fish and wild berries, because we know that, that is actually a celebration food that was eaten by enslaved Africans on plantations.

People know how manycows and pigs they have, but they don't know how many fish are in their lakes and streams.

So slaves were able tocatch fish and bake them.

They were also able togather wild berries, something they learned,often from Native Americans.

We associate soul food withcommercial fried chicken.

That's not soul food.

Baked fish is soul food.

– I was just so struckthat soul food is so clean.

It's clean and fresh, and it doesn't haveany of these additives, and all the fat, and fried and.

None of that is part of it.

– Absolutely.

(mellow jazz music) I loved Soul Food Love, which is more traditional memoir, literary fiction.

I love working in a cookbook form, because I do love playingwith these genres.

– [J.


] Ada's rulesgreatly touches on issues that affect AfricanAmerican women and food.

Tell me more about that.

– I'm a black woman whostruggles with my weight.

My grandmother dear, who I loved, probably weighed 300 pounds, and she was the most beautifulwoman I've ever known.

So, I had this complicatedrole model ahead of me.

So, when I went to write Ada's Rules, it's story of a black preacher's wife with 100 pounds to lose, and it brought me into the territory of food justice, and truly political writing.

And I think in very different ways, both Ada's Rules and Soul Food Love (dog barking) are celebrations of political moments.

Sebastian, who is adoring you, so he wants to be here with us, J.


He thinks that Grandma having a political moment is so important, that he wants to speak.

Can he have one moment on camera? – [J.


] Sebastian,welcome to A Word On Words.

Good boy! – Go back to your bed.

– Good boy! (upbeat jazz music) So, what made you decide that you wanted to write Ada's Rules? What brought you to that topic? – All of my novels are set in, what I perceive to be, popular, women's genres.

So I crossed two despised genres that literary fiction wants to ignore.

The diet book, the self-help book, and the romance novel, because real women arereading romance novels.

I think that this one is literary fiction, but I achieve that bycrossing two pop genres, and then digging deep.

– Digging really deep.

I mean, it is.

It's an incredible book.

Thank you so much for being here.

It's truly been an honor.

– J.


, thank you.

It's been a delight.

– And thank you forwatching A Word On Words.

I'm J.



Keep reading.

– [Alice] Thank you so much for continuing on John's legacy, and I know he would be thrilled that you are the person.

We've been in John's green room together.

– [JT] We have.

We have.

I was a neat place.

– [Alice] It was a neat place.

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