Note on Marcus Samuelsson and the New York Times Freedom Garden piece

I was happy to talk to Eddie Huang about star chef Marcus Samuelsson I just wanted to clarify a few things:

In talking with Eddie my first response to Marcus’ name (in the interview) was absolutely positive.  I think he is the culinary world’s Barack Obama in terms of pathmaking and making a way for chefs of African descent.  Marcus has given a global provenance to our culinary culture by virtue of the fact he is a global person.  He is very important for that reason alone.  ALL of us have to delicately balance identity, career, and the politics of being of color in America….Where Eddie and I agreed however, is that it is often put upon people of color to play certain roles and be figureheads when they have obtained a certain degree of success.  And sometimes, that figurehead status is at the cost of a wider lens on other people of color in the field.  In the eyes of some “we already have so and so…” is code for –we can ignore other Blacks or ….whoever because we’ve got our bases covered, its a really unfortunate phenomenon that clouds both the progress of people of color and the lens through which we are viewed by the “mainstream.” As a layman, I think that Marcus Samuelsson’s greatest accomplishment is bonding Africans with African Americans.  Whatever anyone else we may say, it is proof that he knows the imperative is to keep money and priorities within the community. Nuff said–WE LOVE YOU MARCUS!!! 🙂 Keep breaking down barriers!

If you have not seen it already the New York Times piece by Michael Tortorello; check it out!  It talks all about African American heritage gardens and Kathe Hambrick and the River Road Museum in Donaldsonville, Louisianaand my friends the Kimble sisters and other family from Colfax, Louisiana!  And guess who makes an appearance?  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/14/garden/juneteenth-gardens-planting-the-seeds-of-survival.html?pagewanted=all
In Southern Discomfort Tour News…we are going to be traveling on to Montgomery Alabama tomorrow, then Atlanta, then Athens GA, then South Carolina, then North Carolina and finally the big program at Colonial Williamsburg:  “More than Slaves!” where for the first time we will interpret a colonial African American barbecue drawing on historical documentation and ethnographic research.  The Tour will take a break for a few weeks then go from Latta Plantation through the Lowcountry and back to Jamestown, Virginia for the anniversary of the arrival of Africans in Virginia almost 400 years ago.  We will travel again in September from Old Salem to Historic Brattonsville to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello at the Heritage Harvest Festival.  We are re-visiting those parts of South Carolina, Virginia, Alabama, North Carolina where my family history took place.  We may be going back to Louisiana and Mississippi in the fall to do more presentations as well.  To follow our path follow us on Facebook or Twitter–see the buttons on the side 🙂

Images:

Meeting Leah Chase

Hanging with Red, Brick Pit Barbecue, Mobile Alabama

Chef Vincent Henderson’s Charlotte Russe; “It’s not a dinner party in Mobile without a Charlotte Russe!”

Sugarcane Field, Evergreen Plantation, Louisiana

“The Self-Defining Ground of the Slave Quarter is the Ground on Which I Stand—“August Wilson Evergreen Plantation, Slave Row….

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About michaelwtwitty

I am a Judaics teacher and Culinary Historian focusing on the foodways of Africa, enslaved African Americans, African America and the African and Jewish diasporas.
This entry was posted in Events and Appearances, Food People and Food Places, Pop Culture and Pop Food and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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