His Paula Deen takedown went viral. But this food scholar isn’t done yet.
Michael Twitty’s mission: To evangelize about the African roots of Southern food.
Wow this guy is amazing uhhhhhh uhhhhhh such awesome work
-blogger at Afroculinaria.com
“Twitty is deeply engrossed in both the African American and Jewish food traditions. “Blacks and Jews are the only peoples I know who use food to talk about their past while they eat it,” says Twitty, 38.”
“From Richmond it was a short jaunt to Colonial Williamsburg, where Twitty spent the week lecturing, conducting training sessions and cooking in period costume at three of the living history museum’s venues. In all his talks, Twitty emphasized the impact of chefs and cooks of African descent on shaping American and Southern cuisines in colonial times and after.”
“At a conference he met the scholar Robert Farris Thompson, author of “Flash of the Spirit,” a book about the influence of African religions on African American art that helped him see that “soul food” was, among other things, a spiritual term describing a mystical connection between humans and the animals and plants they eat.”
“He cooked and he gardened. He studied heirloom seed varieties, some that had been brought from Africa and some that had been carried from the New World to Africa and then, on slave ships, back to North America, among them okra, black-eyed peas, kidney and lima beans, Scotch bonnet peppers, peanuts, millet, sorghum, watermelon, yams and sesame. He called those seeds “the repositories of our history” and wrote about them in a monograph published by Landreth Seed in its 2009 catalogue.”
“Twitty’s embrace of all the various parts of himself — African, African American, European, black, white, gay, Jewish — sometimes raises hackles, as does his habit of speaking his mind. An article he wrote in the Guardian on July 4, 2015, suggesting that American barbecue “is as African as it is Native American and European, though enslaved Africans have largely been erased” from its story, elicited scorn and worse: Many commenters were outraged by his idea of barbecue as cultural appropriation.”