It is often said that you can take a person out of a specific place, but you can’t take the place out of the person. The saying is used to express something about the impact of heritage, traditions, customs, breeding and upbringing on an individual’s mind.
As in many cases, there are pros and cons to being a staunch representative of any culture. If everyone was inclined towards changing their values and mindsets as a result of migration and travel, the human race would lose much of its richness and depth of anthropological interest. On the other hand, insularity, provincialism and parochialism are not attractive personality traits.
The great American entertainer who sponsored the academic research of soul food (or Southern Cuisine as it is often described) was making a valuable contribution to knowledge for everyone. When asked about his reasons for upholding the tradition however, the reasoning behind the action might have come across as insular and possibly reactionary.
He said he felt the cuisine was as good as the cooking and eating customs of any other heritage, which is fair enough. Why did it matter if anyone else felt differently about the cuisine’s value?
Sometimes people complain about cultural appropriation, but maybe we all need to accept that if we want our traditions to be given due respect and exposure, then it is possible that folks from elsewhere could be inspired into borrowing ideas from us, to create new cultural practices.