Michael Twitty embarks on this family memoir and exploration of race in American cooking, particularly Southern cooking, knowing that “heads will shake,” over nearly every detail of the story he uncovers. A culinary historian whose work includes a residency at Colonial Williamsburg, Twitty has ancestors who were white as well as black, and he does not shy away from the painful, dismaying particulars of how the second were and continue to be treated by the first.
Instead of a polemic, however, he has produced a moving, detail-rich, and evocative account that stretches back more than 300 years, pointing out contributions that have been lost, elided, or erased in conversations about where American food comes from. It’s a powerful testament to the way that food—how it is raised, prepared, and eaten—is enmeshed in culture and daily living. We’re confident that The Cooking Gene
will inspire and be cited by scholars, as well as Americans who care about their country’s past, for decades to come. You can read an interview with Michael Twitty on the Smithsonian website here
Color photographic insert. Paperback.