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The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South Kindle Edition
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From the Inside Flap
Winner of the 2018 James Beard Foundation's Book Of The Year Award!
Culinary historian Michael W. Twitty brings a fresh perspective to 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 from 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 touchpoints in our ongoing struggles over race. In this unique memoir, 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.
Twitty travels from the tobacco and rice farms of colonial times to plantation kitchens and backbreaking cotton fields to tell of the struggles his family faced and how food enabled his ancestors' survival across three centuries. He sifts through stories, recipes, genetic tests, and historical documents, and visits Civil War battlefields in Virginia, synagogues in Alabama, and black-owned organic farms in Georgia.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 South's past. Along the way, he reveals a truth that is more than skin deep--the power of food to bring the kin of the enslaved and their former slaveholders to the table, where they can discover the real America together.--Dr. Henry Louis Gates, host of PBS' Many Rivers to Cross and Finding Your Roots --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B01BSJIBJI
- Publisher : Amistad; Illustrated edition (August 1, 2017)
- Publication date : August 1, 2017
- Language : English
- File size : 7265 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 464 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #49,079 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The Cooking Gene repositions the conversation about race in America through its food history. Slavery is an incredibly difficult subject to address, much less understand. How can people subject other people to unspeakable cruelty? One element that distinguished the Transatlantic Slave Trade from other types of slavery throughout time is that the enslavers actively stripped the enslaved people of their identities and connections to their homelands.
But as Michael so adeptly realized through his interest in both history and food is that you can't strip away how people cook. So, the victims of the Transatlantic Slave Trade retained their cooking techniques and shared them with others. Over time their foodways became our foodways. But even though his enslaved ancestors couldn't pass down their cultural identities as my Ashkenazi Jewish ancestors could, they passed down their foodways to him along with their actual DNA.
The Cooking Gene is a book to be cherished but also one to be digested. Thank you Michael for taking the journey as uncomfortable as it may have been at times. Discomfort has lead to a beautiful piece of art.
This book is about holy healing work; it is about the memory in the kitchen. I recommend it without reservation.
Top reviews from other countries
Simply can't recommend highly enough. Should be required reading for anyone who feels the need to comment on the US in any way.
I’m reading it again for the third time !