For our next Book Discussion, we are diving into The Cooking Gene by Michael W. Twitty, which won the 2018 James Beard Awards for Writing AND the Book of the Year.
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 He sifts through stories, recipes, genetic tests, and historical documents, and travels from Civil War battlefields in Virginia to synagogues in Alabama to Black-owned organic farms in Georgia.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.
Discussion is limited to 20 guests. If you purchase the book, the evening is free; otherwise it's $10. We'll have snacks and drinks tailored to the book as well. So get your book and come join the conversation!
If you'd like to pick up your book at the shop or are choosing the "no book" option, please select "In Store Pick Up" at checkout. If you'd like to have the book sent to you, please choose a shipping option.