"A renowned culinary historian offers a fresh perspective on our most divisive cultural issue, race, in this illuminating memoir of Southern cuisine and food culture that traces his ancestry—both black and white—through food, from Africa to America and slavery to freedom.
Southern food is integral to the American culinary tradition, yet the question of who "owns" it is one of the most provocative touch points in our ongoing struggles over race. In this unique memoir, culinary historian Michael W. Twitty takes readers to the white-hot center of this fight, tracing the roots of his own family and the charged politics surrounding the origins of soul food, barbecue, and all Southern cuisine.
From the tobacco and rice farms of colonial times to plantation kitchens and backbreaking cotton fields, Twitty tells his family story through the foods that enabled his ancestors’ survival across three centuries. He sifts through stories, recipes, genetic tests, and historical documents, and travels from Civil War battlefields in Virginia to synagogues in Alabama to Black-owned organic farms in Georgia.
As he takes us through his ancestral culinary history, Twitty suggests that healing may come from embracing the discomfort of the Southern past. Along the way, he reveals a truth that is more than skin deep—the power that food has to bring the kin of the enslaved and their former slaveholders to the table, where they can discover the real America together."--from the publisher
Culinary Injustice | Michael Twitty, Culinary Historian
Cooking gives us another way to consider history and honor culture. These two recipes are just a taste of the culinary legacy that enslaved people gave to our country.
Okra Soup with Michael Twitty
Courtesy of Townsends
South Carolina Hoppin' John with Chef BJ Dennis
Courtesy of Discover South Carolina
South Carolina Hoppin' Johns with Chef BJ Dennis
1 ham hock
½ onion, diced
½ green bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic,
minced 1 - 1 ½ cups red peas (or substitute with black-eyed peas)
2 cups Carolina Gold rice (or substitute with long-grain white rice)
2 teaspoons of pepper vinegar
Let ham hock boil for 30-40 minutes or until tender. Dice onion, bell pepper and garlic–set aside. Add red peas once ham hock is tender. Stir occasionally. Next, add onion, bell pepper, garlic and pepper vinegar. Mix ingredients. Add dry spices (salt, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, seasoning salt and garlic salt). Add water as needed for peas (enough to cover ingredients in dish) and cover dish with lid. Rinse rice until water runs clear. Add rice to dish and cover in water. Mix ingredients and let cook for 30 minutes.
"Rice in South Carolina made ten out of the first twelve millionaires who were involved in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. It took two seasons and freshly-bought Africans to make the rice planters of Charleston millionaires. Not one single Gullah/Geechee person, who are losing their land, has a single rice field in Charleston, South Carolina today, and you can Charleston Gold rice at fourteen dollars a bag. That’s food injustice."--Michael Twitty
— Southern Discomfort — Confronting Culinary Injustice and Promoting Culinary Reconciliation in the Old South
Share, not only the food, but the true history with friends and family.
Continue learning by reading some of the books below.
Recommend The Cooking Gene to your book club or give these books as gifts. #supportblackwriters