About The Book

2017 KIRKUS PRIZE FINALIST

The Cooking Gene: A Journey through African-American Culinary History in the Old South Book Cover
The Cooking Gene: A Journey through African-American Culinary History in the Old South

A renowned culinary historian offers a fresh perspective on 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 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 touch points in our ongoing struggles over race. In this unique memoir, culinary historian Michael W. 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.

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Critical Praise

“Fascinating.” — New York Times Book Review

“Twitty ably joins past and present, puzzling out culinary mysteries along the way… An exemplary, inviting exploration and an inspiration for cooks and genealogists alike.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Twitty has accomplished something remarkable with The Cooking Gene… It’s a book to save, reread, and share until everyone you know has a working understanding of the human stories and pain behind some of America’s most foundational and historically significant foods.” — Christian Science Monitor

“Should there ever be a competition to determine the most interesting man in the world, Michael W. Twitty would have to be considered a serious contender.” — Washington Post

“Slavery made the world of our ancestors incredibly remote to us.  Thankfully, the work of Michael W. Twitty helps restore our awareness of their struggles and successes bite by bite, giving us a true taste of the past.” — Dr. Henry Louis Gates, host of PBS’ Many Rivers to Cross and Finding Your Roots

“Written in Michael W. Twitty’s no-nonsense style and interlaced with moments of levity, The Cooking Gene is gritty, compelling, and enlightening – a mix of personal narrative and the history of race, politics, economics and enslavement that will broaden notions of African-American culinary identity.” — Toni Tipton-Martin, James Beard Award-winning author of The Jemima Code

“Fascinating.… A valuable addition to culinary and Old South historiography with lip-smacking period recipes.” — Library Journal (starred review)

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062379290
  • ISBN 10: 0062379291
  • Imprint: Amistad
  • On Sale: 08/01/2017
  • Trimsize: 6 in (w) x 9 in (h) x 1.427 in (d)
  • Pages: 464
  • List Price: 28.99 USD
  • BISAC1: COOKING / History
  • BISAC2: COOKING / Regional & Ethnic / American / Southern States
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