Food unites us. It also drives us apart, carrying powerful but troubling stories of our past. To understand the true nature of American cooking, we must acknowledge its long history and many ancestors.
Culinary historian, food writer, and living history interpreter Michael W. Twitty examines the legacy of enslavement on the social, cultural, and emotional worlds of American food. He reclaims shared ownership of southern cooking traditions by revealing their origins in western Africa, Europe, and Native America. In blending memoir, activism, history, and great wit, Twitty shows us that, despite the discomfort of our shared culinary inheritance, it may be the most powerful way to draw us back together.
Twitty is the author of the James Beard award-winning book The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South. He has been featured on NPR, The Washington Post, and TED. He is the creator of Afroculinaria, the first blog to explore the culinary traditions of Africa and the African diaspora in the United States and around the world.
Book signing to follow, with copies of The Cooking Gene available for purchase.
This talk is held in association with First Chefs: Fame and Foodways from Britain to the Americas, an exhibition at the Folger Shakespeare Library on display from January 19 to March 31, 2019, and Before ‘Farm to Table’: Early Modern Foodways and Cultures, a Mellon initiative in collaborative research at the Folger Institute.