Join Us at the Table

Join us at the table:

A food study into African American history

and food culture

with Michael W. Twitty

 

presented by Brianne Turczynski 

on November 12th at 7 pm 

 

 

 

 

The menu: cornbread, watermelon, African soul fried red rice with black-eyed peas and red rice, sautéed collard greens, sorghum molasses-brined chicken roasted and wrapped in cabbage, and candied yams. For dessert, chicory coffee and Twitty’s mother’s apple crisp.

As a student of the American Civil War, I realized to my shame that I have not one book about the African American experience at that time. Studying military strategy and the life of soldiers kept me from really SEEING this special part of the story. So I thought I would pick up a book. Of course, there are plenty of books out there about race, and I hope to read some of those too, but for the beginning of my journey, I thought I would start with food.

Michael W. Twitty is a culinary and cultural historian, he’s a TED fellow and speaker and has appeared on/in NPR, The Guardian, and has been a participant in many talks abroad.

Using the recipes from his book, Twitty traces the food of the enslaved in America and how that food has traveled and morphed through time and the world. The book traces Twitty's family history from Ghana and Sierra Leone to the plantations of Virginia and South Carolina. He encourages all people to research their DNA history and he gives resources for African Americans to do archival research to find their ancestors. He also asks white folks to contact any black relatives with which they are matched (I myself have several) to compare family history so relatives of the enslaved can find their roots. 

Finding one's roots, he mentions, is very important and will begin the journey of healing for all. I had my family over and cooked some of his food and read some quotes from his book and shared his stories. This was a very eye-opening experience for all of us.

You can read more of my reflections at: http://bit.ly/Thecookinggene

--Brianne

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