"This is not a comfortable conversation."
October 11, 2015 9:58 AM   Subscribe

Michael Twitty is becoming one of the most transformative figures in the world of food. Reinterrogating and recreating African-American history in the context of American culinary history through his blog Afroculinaria, Twitty argues for "culinary justice" in food writing and the conversation on food history. His project (and forthcoming book of the same name) The Cooking Gene is in part a product of his Southern Discomfort Tour, a journey retracing the preservation and transmission of culinary knowledge before, during and beyond slavery.

Twitty brings attention to the underexploration of African-American food history, reframing it as not a contributor to but a shaper of American food history, and especially critiquing its general exclusion from popular food narratives and culinary training.

Twitty was named one of Southern Living's 50 People Who Are Changing the South in 2015. More on the Southern Discomfort tour in this video interview. Here, he tells Ebony "I just love learning about history and the human journey through food." A convert to Judaism and a Hebraic studies teacher, he tweets at @KosherSoul. He's also got an active Facebook page.

Previously on MetaFilter, Twitty was discussed a bit when he weighed in on Paula Deen's exposure for racial discrimination with his Open Letter to Paula Deen.
posted by Miko (8 comments total) 103 users marked this as a favorite
Mind blown. I've never thought about the culinary scene in Charleston through the prism of slavery and now I won't ever forget it. This is an amazing post.
posted by photoslob at 10:25 AM on October 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

The amount of compassion of asking those participating in injustice to come to the table, to celebrate that of our culture that unites us, to truly become family that treats each other well, not by ignoring the wrongs but by facing them honestly, making it right.

A family is not whole when one is trampling the other, family members can get angry at each other, can bring things into the light of day and should. But with hopes of truly healing even if there is a huge well of suffering and wrong doing to address. I am impressed, and honored and humbled to be invited to hear his words and compassion and hope we can all work to right these wrongs and ongoing injustice.
posted by xarnop at 10:49 AM on October 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oooh, and look at his selection of heritage seeds! "Mr. Twitty has generously given of his time, knowledge and experience to assist and guide the D. Landreth Seed Company in assembling this unique collection of heirloom seeds - seeds that were carried by enslaved peoples from Africa and the Caribbean. The fruits and vegetables harvested from these seeds became the dietary staples of the African American family."

Fascinating and well put-together post, Miko. Thank you!
posted by MonkeyToes at 11:12 AM on October 11, 2015 [9 favorites]

The amount of compassion of asking those participating in injustice to come to the table

And come to the table in the most literal of ways, at that.
posted by Dip Flash at 1:21 PM on October 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Thanks for this post. I admire the hell out of this man and hope his message is picking up steam.
posted by Lisitasan at 2:51 PM on October 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

I spent significant amounts of today reading this blog. This was not wasted time. His views on modern racism are interesting and possibly not something that I agree with. The rest of the links will have to wait until I have a bit more time.

He writes something along the lines of "I don't care if you call me (the N word, which he spells out). Just don't expect me to answer to it." Which is an attitude that I like, but as a white person I'd also argue that hearing that word used in that way makes white people worse. Of course, it's not his job to care about white people... And so forth. Good stuff.

Also, this is the most Miko post that ever Mikoed its way to Mikoville.
posted by stet at 7:07 PM on October 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

This guy is fascinating. I hope he gets more and more well-known.
posted by maggiemaggie at 7:40 PM on October 11, 2015

I really enjoyed this post and am really grateful to have been introduced to Michael Twitty's writing.
posted by annathea at 7:44 PM on October 11, 2015

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