Food of the Enslaved
February 9, 2017 6:49 PM   Subscribe

Michael Twitty (previously) and Jas. Townsend and Son present Food of the Enslaved, a series that focuses on historic foods of the enslaved African community of North America. The first two episodes are available online, covering the histories and preparation of barbecue and okra soup. posted by sp160n (7 comments total) 48 users marked this as a favorite
I've never heard of Michael Twitty until now. The man is a national treasure.
posted by NoMich at 7:05 PM on February 9, 2017 [4 favorites]

OMG. This is a great pairing.
posted by feckless at 8:33 PM on February 9, 2017

Sending these to my mother, hopefully in preparation for giving her the book for her birthday. This is just the sort of thing she used to study when she was teaching cooking at the Cooperative Extension, and drawing on the oral history of her own Appalachian ancestral dishes and flavors. Thanks!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:58 PM on February 9, 2017 [3 favorites]

He's so brilliant. Can't wait for the book.
posted by Miko at 9:06 PM on February 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

Oh, I'm so glad you posted this! Thank you!

I've been watching that show for years, and I'm absolutely thrilled they've brought him on. I've seen Twitty before (although I can't remember where, now -- maybe here?), and he's awesome. And I'm very excited that this channel is starting to incorporate the history of nonwhite people. Historically-accurate cooking can be this kind of historical tourism that erases the unsightly bits like slavery in favor of, you know, "here's johnnycakes!" So when I saw the word "enslaved" right there in the title, I was hopeful. It's a complicated topic, but this is a step in the right direction, and I hope they keep going that way. And as much as YouTube comments can be really toxic, the feedback to this seems to be really positive.

And yeah, I'm really excited for that book.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 10:03 PM on February 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

this is exactly what the townsend & son channel needed. it was great before, dont get me wrong, but sometimes the viewpoint was a bit narrow in terms of the 18th c. communities he focused on. adding michael twitty was brilliant.
posted by wibari at 10:09 PM on February 9, 2017 [6 favorites]

I'm very excited that this channel is starting to incorporate the history of nonwhite people.

Yes; and I'd be interested to know how it came about inside the company. Undoubtedly, one of the (only) growing markets within historical re-enactment is that of people re-enacting the history of people of color. More and more museums and hobbyists are seeking to do this. So on one level, it's straight up market responsiveness. Townsend is by far the main game in town for your supplies and ready-made costume pieces. On another level, it takes someone pretty hooked into the emerging scholarship and customer base to make the decision to expand the narratives around cooking. The calmness of the comments is especially notable in light of the fact that the historical re-enactment community, while containing many wonderful people, also contains a distinct contingent that is, to put it circumspectly, nostalgic about eras of white dominance.
posted by Miko at 5:48 AM on February 10, 2017 [7 favorites]

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