Michael Twitty, Afroculinaria | 50 People Who Are Changing the South in 2015 – Southern Living Mobile


I am pleased to announce that Southern Living, a magazine long revered in my family, named me and this blog among 50 to watch in 2015!  As I finish the research for The Cooking Gene and make my way to West Africa, I hope to live up to the promise of the honor. I want to change the South because it must change in order to survive. It was in our Ancestors hands that the South was forged, and it is in the capable hands of their descendants that it will be improved, strengthened and renewed.  I encourage you to read all of the bios and to celebrate the diverse contributions people are making to the path of Southern tradition. Enjoy!


Posted in African American Food History, Events and Appearances, Food and Slavery, Food Philosophy at Afroculinaria, Publications, The Cooking Gene | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Soul Foodies to Watch in 2015: Natasha Bowen

This week in Soul Foodies to Watch we are profiling:

Natasha Bowens, Author of The Color of Food: Stories of Race, Resilience and Farming, Frederick, MD


1. What’s your food vision for 2015? What do our priorities need to be?
I’d like to see African America lifting up our black farmers, chefs and community food leaders. Our priorities need to be putting our dollars directly into our communities so that black farmer and that black-owned restaurant can keep their doors open, allowing them to keep feeding our communities and keep food culture alive. We need to get better at telling our stories to make that connection with our community.

2. What inspires your culinary creativity?

My culinary inspiration comes from the soil, all the way back to that seed. When I get to watch my food grow, pick that fresh fruit and slice in to see life’s beautiful colors – girl, that does it for me.

3. What’s your best dish or drink or meal?

Every time my family and I get together they’re begging me for my buttermilk biscuits.  My mom will text me talkin ’bout how she’s craving my biscuits, I don’t know what it is.


4. What’s your favorite edible treat?

This will give me away as the true crunchy granola that I am, but I eat popcorn with melted coconut oil and nutritional yeast at least twice a week.

5. What should we be on the lookout from you for in 2015?

My book, The Color of Food: Stories of Race, Resilience and Farming, will be out from New Society Publishers in April 2015 (You can pre-order now!) and so you can expect to see me out on the road presenting farmer stories at conferences and universities around the country. You can also look out for my blog series on Mother Earth News, and if you’re ever in the D.C. area, come look me up in Frederick where I’ll be starting an educational youth farm with the Housing Authority of the City of Frederick and Seeds of Life Nurseries this year!

6. How can we follow you, stay in touch and support you?

You can follow my happenings on my site thecolorofood.org, and @browngirlfarmin or Facebook.  Support me by supporting these farmers – help spread our stories and
lift up farmers and food activists of color!

Thanks Natasha for your hard work and dedication to telling the story of so many diverse farmers across the rainbow spectrum.

Posted in African American Food History, Food People and Food Places, Food Philosophy at Afroculinaria, Scholars, Elders and Wise Folk | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trace Your Roots Back to Africa: One Day Course

Join cultural historian Michael W. Twitty for a day’s course at the Alexandria Black History Museum, Saturday, January 31, 2015 to learn how to discover your family roots back to Africa using all the tools currently available. The intimate museum setting provides for one-on-one interaction with this highly-sought-after historian. This 4.5-hour Crash Course, from 11:00 AM to 3:30 PM, costs $15 per attendee to cover all course reading materials and lunch.

The elusive African American genealogical dream is to trace family ancestry back to the African continent.  The American descendants want closure from the wounds of the past, to feel more whole, to be able to pass a valuable history on to the next generation and to complete their story. Connecting documentation with DNA and with other research methods makes a solution to the genealogy puzzle more attainable.

Michael Twitty, noted culinary and cultural historian, created Afroculinaria, the first blog devoted to African American historic foodways and their legacy. He appeared on Bizarre Foods America with Andrew Zimmerman, Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, and lectured to more than 200 groups including Yale, Oxford and Carnegie Mellon Universities, Colonial Williamsburg, and spoken around the world from Copenhagen to London to Jerusalem on culinary justice and the African American impact on Southern foodways. HarperCollins will release Twitty’s first major book in 2016:  The Cooking Gene, which traces his ancestry through food.

In MAKING THE LEAP:  Tracing Your Roots Back to Africa – A Primer Course, the first hour focuses on ethnicity, trade, enslavement and migration work in “The Old Country: Understanding Historical West and Central Africa in the African American Context.”  The second hour covers “A New World: Understanding How These Ancestors Became Americans,” showing the challenges in following the movement of enslaved Africans and their acculturation.  Twitty provides insight on the impact of culinary history to this cultural study. Hour three features “Case Studies: Stories and Clues to Linking Africa with America through Oral History and Written Documentation” for mapping ancestral stories across the ocean via clues, tips, hints and connections.  The final hour is “DNA Evidence: Understanding How it Works for African Americans.” This segment demonstrates how DNA results serve as a tool to make the genealogical leap back to African origins.

For more information about this program and to make reservations, contact the Alexandria Black History Museum, located at 902 Wythe Street, Alexandria, VA, at 703.746.4356.  For media inquiries, contact Andrea J. Blackford, Senior Communications Officer, Office of Communications and Public Information, at 703.746.3959 or andrea.blackford@alexandriava.gov.

The City of Alexandria is committed to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended. To request a reasonable accommodation, email lance.mallamo@alexandriava.gov or call 703.746.4554, Virginia Relay 711.



Posted in Events and Appearances, Scholars, Elders and Wise Folk, The Cooking Gene | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

The 5 Cheftavists of 2014: Opinionated About Food and Politics | TakePart


This makes me kinda proud. What esteemed company!  To be included with Tom Collichio,  Ann Cooper,  Roy Choi and Alice Waters in a list of cheftavists!! Wow. More work to be done. Much more. Thank you Take Part!



Posted in Food Philosophy at Afroculinaria, Pop Culture and Pop Food, Publications, The Cooking Gene | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The MADFeed — Burek and BarbecueMichael Twitty Today we feature…


Just for you a special peak into an essay I wrote last year that you may not have gotten a chance to see. It’s on what happens when barbecue and burekas meet :) a meditation on culinary collisions for MAD 2014: What’s cooking????

Check it out!



Chef Atef in Jerusalem teaching me how he rolls dough for burekas and cigars.

Posted in Diaspora Food Culture, Events and Appearances, Food Philosophy at Afroculinaria, Pop Culture and Pop Food, Publications, The Cooking Gene | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We need Kwanzaa more than ever this year | Michael W Twitty | Comment is free | The Guardian


My contribution to the Guardian in honor of Kwanzaa, in which we are in the midst, the seven day harvest festival, a time to recommit to action and reflection to values that work together for the good of the community.



Nguzo Saba (the Seven Principles): 
Umoja (Unity)
Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)
Ujima(Collective Work&Responsibility)
Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
Kuumba (Creativity)

1. Unity: Where the boat picked us up is more important than where it dropped us off. We celebrate our culinary heritage as African people all around the globe. We support each other and celebrate our foodways from sea to sea, land to land.

2. Self-Determination: We have an obligation to organize, construct and maintain our own food systems. Culinary justice and food sovereignty are all about self-determination. We determine and protect our culinary narrative and it’s integrity.


3. Collective work and responsibility: No one person can cook, write our food history, create networks for food and culinary justice, grow community gardens or work the international scene. We work together to create a better food world for the generations to follow. We don’t depend on outsiders, we take responsibility for ourselves.


4. Cooperative Economics: We support Black chefs, cookbook authors, food writers, and Black food businesses.  These are people who work with love, but love alone is not enough, we need and want support from our community to stay ALIVE.

5. Purpose: We believe in purposeful eating, purposeful growing, purposeful cooking, and purposeful buying. Everything from what we eat to the ethics surrounding our consumption – from the protection or workers to nature to the protection of our culture – these are all parts of path that need to be purposeful and direct.


6. Creativity: We Black chefs and culinarians can do more than just “soul food,” we represent the entirety of the culinary spectrum while always giving honor to our heritage and traditons. We are creatively engaged in it all. We can use food in creative ways to educate, empower, inform and innovate.


7. Faith: We have faith in our culinary traditions to give us the tools to nurture and heal our bodies and health, to serve as a vehicle to pass on our history and to serve as a witness that our Ancestors culture did not die. The food thrives and so shall we. We recognize Spirit and Soul as intangible elements in our cooking that no explanation is needed for nor any explanation possible.


Posted in African American Food History, African Food Culture, Diaspora Food Culture, Events and Appearances, Food Philosophy at Afroculinaria, Heirloom Gardening/Heritage Breeds and Wildcrafting, Pop Culture and Pop Food, Publications, The Cooking Gene | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Soul food with schmaltz – Jewish World FeaturesIsrael News – Haaretz Israeli News source


Hey it speaks for itself! Nirit Ben – Ari did such an excellent job with this piece. I felt like she did my feelings and ideas proud and a bit more of the real me came through. Very happy to be visiting with Israel and meeting Jews, Arabs, and people of all backgrounds who appreciate food and how it can bridge serious divides.


Meeting Claudia Roden in Israel! We first met at Oxford University in 2010. What an inspiration. Tonight I had the esteemed privilege of being Ha-Sadna, the Culinary Workshop for a dinner in honor of Mrs. Roden ‘ s prolific work documenting Jewish,  Middle Eastern and international food traditions. Her work inspired me. Tonight’s theme was me’ulim or stuffed foods…of which Yerushalayim is the culinary capital. The foods prepared reflected what Claudia termed “multiple memories” across boundaries of culture and religion. Jewish and Arab chefs executed stuffed purple carrots, tables strewn with green tahini, harissa and preserved lemon sauce, stuffed pigeon, lamb empanadas, and ice cream prepared with tahini and dulce de leche. Special thanks to all the chefs, the Cinemateque, the amazing Ronit Vered and the awesome Itta Pico, and to the great chef and culinary writer Claudia Roden who I now call family. :)

Enjoy the piece from Nirit!

היי זה מדבר בעד עצמו! נירית בן – ארי עשה עבודה כל כך מעולה עם היצירה הזאת. הרגשתי כאילו היא עשתה את הרגשות והרעיונות שלי גאים וקצת יותר האמיתי הגיע דרך. מאוד נשמח לביקור עם ישראל ויהודים פגישה, ערבים, ואנשים מכל הרקע שיודע להעריך אוכל ואיך זה יכול לגשר על פערים רציניים.

פגישת קלודיה רודן בישראל! נפגשנו בפעם הראשונה באוניברסיטת אוקספורד בשנת 2010. מה השראה. הלילה היה לי הזכות להיות המוערכת של Ha-סדנא, סדנת הבישול לארוחת ערב לכבודו של עבודה פורה גב ‘של רודן תיעוד יהודי, מזרח התיכון ומסורות מזון בינלאומיות. עבודתה נתנה לי השראה. ערכת הנושא של הלילה היה מזונות me’ulim או ממולאים … שירושלים היא הבירה הקולינרית. המזון מוכן שיקף את מה קלאודיה מכונה “זכרונות מרובים” מעבר לגבולות של תרבות ודת. שפים יהודים וערבים להורג גזר סגול ממולא, שולחנות פזורים עם טחינה ירוקה, אריסה ולימון משומר, יונה ממולאת, אמפנדס בשר הכבש, וגלידה מוכן עם טחינה וריבת חלב. תודה מיוחדת לכל השפים, הסינמטק, רונית ורד המדהים ואיטה פיקו מדהים, והשף הגדול וסופר קולינרית קלודיה רודן שאני מכנה היום משפחה. :)

ליהנות מהחתיכה מנירית!

مهلا أنه يتحدث عن نفسه! لم اري مثل بعمل عظيم مع هذه القطعة – Nirit بن. شعرت وكأني فعلت مشاعري والأفكار بالفخر وأكثر من ذلك بقليل الحقيقي يأتي من خلال. ‘د الحب لزيارة إسرائيل واليهود اجتماعات والعرب، والناس من جميع الخلفيات الذي يعرف كيف نقدر الغذاء وكيف يمكن سد ثغرات خطيرة.

اجتماع كلوديا رودن في إسرائيل! التقينا للمرة الأولى في جامعة أكسفورد في عام 2010. ما ألهم. هذه الليلة كان لي الحق في أن تقيم ورشة عمل ها، الطبخ عشاء رشة عمل في شرف العمل المنتج وثائق السيدة رودان من اليهود والشرق الأوسط والتقاليد الغذائية الدولية. ألهمني عملها. وقد شغل موضوع الليل الأطعمة me’ulim أو … القدس هي عاصمة الطهي. الطعام المعد يعكس ما يسمى كلوديا “ذكريات متعددة” ما وراء حدود الثقافة والدين. الطهاة العرب واليهود أعدموا محشوة الجزر الأرجواني، والجداول تتناثر مع الطحينة الخضراء، والهريسة والليمون الحفاظ عليها، حمامة محشوة، امباناداس الضأن، والآيس كريم أعدت مع الطحينة ودولسي دي ليتشه. شكر خاص لجميع الطهاة، وسينماتيك، رونيت فيرد الايطالي بيكو طاه مدهش ورائع، وعظيم والكاتب الطهي كلوديا رودن أعطي الكلمة الآن الأسرة. :)

استمتع بائعة الهوى نيري!
مرحبا! السلام!





Posted in Jewish Stuff, Pop Culture and Pop Food, Publications, Scholars, Elders and Wise Folk, The Cooking Gene | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments