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The cooking gene : a journey through African American culinary history in the Old South  Cover Image Book Book

The cooking gene : a journey through African American culinary history in the Old South


"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 He sifts through stories, recipes, genetic tests, and historical documents, and visits Civil War battlefields in Virginia, synagogues in Alabama, and black-owned organic farms in Georgia.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"--Jacket.

Record details

  • ISBN: 9780062379290 (hardcover)
  • ISBN: 0062379291 (hardcover)
  • ISBN: 9780062379276
  • ISBN: 0062379275
  • Physical Description: xvii, 443 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : color illustrations ; 24 cm
  • Edition: First edition.
  • Publisher: New York, NY : Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2017]

Content descriptions

Bibliography, etc. Note:
Includes bibliographical references (pages 423-437).
Formatted Contents Note:
Preface: The Old South -- No more whistling walk for me -- Hating my soul -- Mise en place -- Mishpocheh -- Missing pieces -- No nigger blood -- "White man in the woodpile" -- 0.01 percent -- Sweet tooth -- Mothers of slaves -- Alma mater -- Chesapeake gold -- The Queen -- Adam in the garden -- Shake dem 'simmons down -- All creatures of our G-d and king -- The Devil's half acre -- "The King's cuisine" -- Crossroads -- The old country -- Sankofa.
Subject: African American cooking > History.
Cooking, American > Southern style > History.
African Americans > Food > Southern States > History.
African Americans > Genealogy.
Genetic genealogy.
African Americans > Food > Southern States > History.
Genre: Family histories.

Available copies

  • 1 of 1 copy available at State Library of Alabama.


  • 0 current holds with 1 total copy.
Show Only Available Copies
Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
APLS 641.5929 TWI 2017 31291002964623 Stacks Available -

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