Contact Michael

Cymlings and Okra in Mississippi

Cymlings and Okra in Natchez, Mississippi, Johnathan M. Lewis, 2012

I try my best to reply to all my emails and social media hits but due to the high volume of inquiries I’m not always able to reply to all of them.  Some suggestions:

To book me for speaking engagements,  cooking demonstrations and presentations for mid to large audiences look here.

Facebook: My fan page is Michael W. Twitty.  I’m not the biggest Facebook person but I try to answer my messages there regularly.  This is probably the least effective place to reach me.

Twitter:  I love Twitter and I’m on there every day.  Twitter is a great place to catch my attention.  My handle there is @Koshersoul .

Here! Make a comment and that will get my attention.  If you want to simply share a memory or anecdote, ask a short question, or give me a pat on the back, here is the best place to do that!  Much appreciated!   

Email:  If you want to reach out to me about a consultation, presentation, class or speaking request please specify “Request for,” in your subject line.  These will take priority over other communications.  If you have a longer, more involved question, specify “Question from,” in the subject line.  If you want to talk about partnerships or networking, specify that.  🙂 You get the point.  Right now, I’m working hard to shift into more writing, cooking, growing, researching, thinking, creating and I have to prioritize my correspondence.  I appreciate everybody’s support and interest; but building my business, my brand and planting seeds for the future is where my heart, mind and soul are at the moment.

You can feel free to email me at either koshersoul@gmail.com or thecookinggene@gmail.com.  Again, please try to specify what you need so I can give your email the proper attention it requires.

With Nicole Taylor of Heritage Radio Network in Brooklyn

With Nicole Taylor of Heritage Radio Network in Park Slope, Brooklyn


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71 Responses to Contact Michael

  1. meggydh says:

    I just read your Open Letter to Paula Deen and it literally brought tears to my eyes. If you cook half as well as you write, you must be something else! And your kindness certainly exceeds both your writing and cooking skills!! (I was also wondering if your fundraiser in September is open to the public?) God Bless you sir!

  2. cynthia says:

    There are a few that got here on the Mayflower before you did. If you live in a glass house, don’t throw stones. From your “Paula Dean” rant, I can only assume you have never uttered a racial slur towards people of Non color or said the “N” word. Must be lonely being perfect.

    • I said the “n word” in the piece. I said EVERYBODY’s a little bit racist..I said we ALL have to work on it..Please read my piece again. By the way–by DNA I am 28% NOT OF COLOR 🙂 I am over a quarter “white”/European and my great-great-great grandfather was in the Confederate army–but I need not prove anything to you because..you know me already 🙂

    • oh one more fun fact–my great-great-great grandfathers family arrived in Plymouth Mass in 1622, so you got one fact right 🙂
      have a great one!

    • zenkatwrites says:

      Did you even read his commentary on Paula Deen? I think not. It most certainly was not a rant, but was thoughtful and humble and welcoming and with a hand out. Geeesh. I sent it to everyone I know. GREAT WRITING, Michael.

  3. jamdontshakelikethat says:

    Great piece! Frustrating to address it again and again, but I’m willing, and glad you are, too.

  4. Yvonne Mitchell says:

    Bravo…well said! Awesome post! We can all learn from it.

  5. Shanaduff says:

    How eloquently worded and honest your open letter to Ms.Deen is. Thank you. Thank you also for doing the work you do. I came to your site to read the letter, but now you have a new fan.

  6. Marcelle says:

    My Gulf to Table Southern Cuisine™ Chef Husband, Andi Bell, would love to be a part of your Dinner at Historic Stagville on Sept 7th. Trained at the Florida Culinary Institute and he is currently the Executive Chef at Boshamps Seafood and Oyster House in Destin, Florida. Feel free to read more about him there at the website noted below. Please let me know if his participation in your event would be possible.

  7. Pam williams says:

    Admire you for the article concerning Paula…

  8. sharron sawyer says:

    Please help Paula, she needs help, your a famous cook and she needs your help, PLEASE

  9. tuckahoems says:

    Hello Michael – I just entered a long post on your Deen comment, so won’t repeat it here. Thank you for what, and how, you teach us.
    Cynthia S.

  10. Elaine says:

    Michael – can you post some recipes or links to recipes that are in line with your work on Afroculinaria? I am a cook who loves trying new dishes.

  11. melanee sinclari says:

    Michael-
    I think your letter cuts to the heart of the matter. I find your letter on point, polite, and pointed. I hope that she takes you up on the offer. You know the saying….If you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem.

  12. Michael – the best thing to come out Deen’s misfortune is your blog post going viral so I could find out about you. Thanks so much for the treasury of goodness that is this website and your works.

    I’m a 51 year-old Jewish man who lives in Skokie, IL. I started playing trombone in grade school, fell in love with Jazz in High School which led to an interest in New Orleans culture and my first trip there at age 30 which changed my life forever.

    I got a BA in History at the University of Illinois, and I play semi-professionally. I love New Orleans music most of all playing with the BS Brass Band celebrating both traditional jazz laced with funk, rock, soul, etc.

    Reading through your site today brought many tears and much joy. You discussion of race, food and Judaism of course made me think of my personal and ancestral story which of course always ends in thoughts of my Grandma Piri z”l. No one had a greater impact on my life than she.

    She left her home post WWI Hungary for Paris where she learned haberdashery and visited Chicago for the 1931 World’s Fair on a tourist visa and by the grace of G-d never left. She escaped the horrors of the Shoah that took the life of her sister Violet at Auschwitz and led to much suffering of the rest of her family. Her brother in particular suffered in the Hungarian Jewish Forced Labor Battalions.

    I don’t know much about my grandfather – he died in 1967 when I was but 5 – my memories of him are dim. He similarly immigrated early and escaped the fate that his immediate and extended family who were left behind in Europe. My grandfather started a designer Lighting Fixture company that my uncle still runs – so they also escaped the fate of so many Americans during the Great Depression.

    My grandmother was no stranger to racism; she was only able to work in the 30’s and 40’s in Chicago by disguising her name and pretending to be a gentile because she was able to speak perfect French with a Parisian accent. She could “Pass”…

    The one thing I remember about her more than anything else was the way she treated people. She worked at the company until she was too frail to take the bus (she never learned to drive) as the receptionist. She quite notably treated EVERYONE the same way – with the grace and dignity that the Europeans master so well.

    It didn’t matter if you were a wealthy customer, their high-brow Interior Decorator, or the UPS driver, a cab driver, a janitor or a homeless person. It didn’t matter if your skin was white, brown, black, or yellow. It didn’t matter if you spoke perfectly unaccented English (or what passes for that here in Chicago 🙂 or a noticeable foreign accent like her own.

    Her face would light up with a beautiful smile and she was truly engaged to get to know literally everyone she met. You don’t know how many times people would find out I was her Grandson and would gush about what a wonderful person she was and how glad they were to know them.

    She wasn’t the great cook that my mother is (someone else I could go on about but I’m already running very long) but she had a great love of food and culture and history.

    Thanks so much – and for letting me share this part of my story as you sharing yours. Together we will make the work less broken,.

    She lived two doors down from Emanuel Congregation on the Chicago lakefront where I belong. I would so love to get you to come to speak and/or cook at our schul. I do hope you make it to Chicago sometime soon.

  13. “Best read of the year!” Mr. Twitty has given us all the opportunity for a dialog that is needed to progress beyond the end of our noses. He is right on about “choices”. I can not forget the name Michael W. Twitty. I look forward to learning more from him. Harold Hodges 6/28/13 Response to letter to Paula Deen.

  14. Denise Poupard says:

    Some of the most beautiful, eloquent writing I have ever read. Thank you. I live in Canada and have been following the news story. Again thank you for your righteous commentary.

  15. I read your article about Paula Deen and found it thought provoking and insightful.
    I will be following your posts!

  16. Kevin Cary says:

    Dear Michael: Your open letter to Paula Deen is nothing short of brilliant! It should be YOU on The Food Network! Everything you state is so on-the-mark. I hope this article opens many, many doors for you. What you have to say deserves a very wide audience. Best of luck in all your endeavors.

  17. Marta Ramos says:

    Wow, bravo, bravo, bravo. Your letter…have been shared in Facebook over and over. That tells you something. Wish there was more of this and less of what the media is putting out there. Insightful, well spoken, quite brilliant. I agreed with the blogger that said that if you cook half as good as you write your food must be heavenly. Blessings, shine on my brother.

  18. zenkatwrites says:

    Hi Michael, Have said enough about Deen elsewhere. You might want to put your blog on bloglovin.com. It is a pretty cool site where a person can have the feeds they want sent to them. I have both my art and my food blog there. (I am not a pro-foodie but it is a hobby.) Best, Kate

  19. Board of Directors says:

    Michael, I hope you see this.
    I want to continue following your beautiful thread, and continue coming to your blog. But the commentor Leebri is making it impossible. In my opinion she is bullying and looking for a fight at every turn. And she is posting so much that almost every email I get from here is a comment from her. I’m going to have to go until things calm down a bit and will have to block further emails from here. I worry that she will not only be commenting in this abusive manner on this thread, but on other posts as well. I believe she has an agenda, and that agenda is shut down your thread. She’s well on her way to doing that. I don’t know what you might be able to do about it – but I hope you will address it. I want to come back!!

    • Board of Directors says:

      Forgot to add. You have my email from my comments. Please feel free to email to let me know if the coast is clear again. Thank you!

  20. julia says:

    I think my friends and I may have disturbed you in the coffee shop yesterday while you were working. We all used to work in a bookstore together many years ago, and were catching up, which can get raucous at times. Can’t wait to read more about your work, & thanks for your contributions to our knowledge base about culture & food.

  21. Tim Haggerty says:

    Congratulation on your book Michael! Remember us in Pittsburgh when you get (more) famous!

  22. I love this blog! American history & kosher food, what’s not to like? Yashar koach.
    http://www.jewish-history.com/

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  32. stephanie finley says:

    Thank you Michael for your blog….it was white guy that turned me on to it. Wish we were friends.
    BestWishes
    Stephanie

  33. lagerwhat says:

    I have always regretted not taking a culinary anthropology class back in college. Reading your posts make me feel like I’m making up for lost time. Thanks!

  34. I want your black eyed peas hummus

    And baked apples again. Need recipe.

    Come visit us in New Orleans !

  35. Louis says:

    Hi Michael,

    Just watched your interview on VICE. You’re doing powerful stuff!

    While watching a few questions came to mind for me that weren’t quite explored in the interview. You should know that these questions come from my particular ethnic and historical perspective- White-Jewish American, family immigrated to Chicago and Minneapolis in two waves- early 20th century from Pale of Settlement and 1940’s from China after fleeing Nazi Germany. I grew up in Chicago and spent 10 years in a Jewish parochial school before going to a public high school with a more diverse ethnic mix.

    1. As a Black Jewish man exploring the history of slavery while cherishing the Jewish values of social justice, what are your thoughts on the Jews who owned slaves in the South and the Jewish supporters of the Confederacy during the Civil War? I’ve always imagined the interesting hypocrisy and conflicting narratives of Jewish slave-owners holding passover Seders and celebrating their freedom from the slavery of Egypt while still holding people in bondage themselves. How do events like those, which fall on two opposite poles of your religious and ethnic history, strike you?

    2. I see you have explored Jewish communities in the South. I’m wondering if you’ve faced racism from Southern Jews and if this racism was, in any way, qualitatively different from the racism you experienced from Southern Gentiles? Without naming names or outing individuals, would love to hear any anecdotes you have on the matter if you are willing to share.

    3. I confess, when I’ve met Jews of non-White or non-Mizrahi or Sephardi descent I have often inquired about their specific journey to Judaism and/or Jewish ethnic history. From what I gleaned from your interviews you often find these questions uncomfortable. As the asker of these questions I’d like to ask what you feel about my experience of these interactions. Whenever I hear a story about someone’s Jewish ethnic history or journey to converting to Judaism, after asking, I always feel more connected to them and happier with my relationship to Judaism as a whole and to this other member of my people. Many conceive of Judaism as such a closed racial and ethnic idea, but whenever we have Jews of varying ethnic looks or descents it reminds me (and us, as a people I think) that our religion transcends the color of skin or historical events and speaks to a large spiritual culture and shared idea of history. I’m aware that making other people uncomfortable to help me and other Jews feel our religion more inclusively could be unfair. To be honest, in reaction to your words on the subject, I’m considering not asking these questions when I meet Jews of unusual ethnic histories and looks. Would like to know if there is a more considerate way of asking these questions to avoid this discomfort on the part of the askee and a better way to share the joy and awareness of this spiritual sameness through my response to the answer.

    • Thanks for your note! There are no good cowboys and no good Indians in history. They were wrong by our standards, and they were wrong by the highest ethics of Jewish tradition, but what to do about it? We tell the truth, deconstruct the past and resolve to do better as we move forward. Southern Jews were overwhelmingly welcoming to me and I encountered no ambiguity. I felt more comfortable with the Jews of the Deep South than any other Jewish communities I’ve ever encountered. To your last question…it does get taxing. As my friend Sabrina Sojourner says, “Don’t make that the first conversation, get to know me first.” I think a lot of Jews who come from mainstream backgrounds want validation or confirmation of their positive feelings are looking for some “secret” to why anyone would want to be Jewish if they have self doubts. What’s your Jewish story?” is much better than “Did you convert or were you raised Jewish?” ALL JEWS HAVE A JEWISH STORY. 😉

  36. Rickey Stein says:

    Michael- When I received a Google notice that our 300 Ways Book had been mentioned on the internet I immediately went to your blog: Bitter Herbs and Collard Greens: An African-American Seder Plate For Passover : Code Switch : NPR. I was so thrilled and happy to see that you were able to use a part of our work in your Seder celebration. Usually we are chasing people to get a translation of their language for our continuing project. But it is response such as yours which makes our efforts more than worth all of the work over the past 40+ years . It is response such as yours which gives us tremendous nachas and we kvell with pride and happiness that we are able to be even a small part of your celebration as you stretch out to embrace your heritages. Chag Sameach – A Zissen Pesach. Rickey Stein [co-author of 300 Ways to Ask the Four Questions]

  37. Good afternoon Michael,
    My name is Rachael Devaney and I am a freelance reporter for Madame Noire – a Black women’s digest, headquartered in New York City. I am currently writing a business piece on Black-owned farms, and Black-owned grocers. I found your website and was hoping you would be interested in participating. If you could e-mail me at rachaeldevaney@yahoo.com and let me know that would be wonderful.
    Thanks !! – Rachael Devaney

  38. Nagi says:

    Dear
    Just I am read it your story as well I am so existing in it I am African man live in israel want to be your friend I have many things that I want to share with you as well can you like mazing story of some people live in israel I think it well be very grateful and helpful for both of us .
    best regards

  39. Heard you on the radio talking about the origins of barbecue. Do you know about the Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Mississippi? Their mission is “to document, study and celebrate the diverse food cultures of the changing american south”
    “We set a common table where black and white, rich and poor -all who gather-may consider our history and our future in a spirit of reconciliation.”
    Co- founded by John Egerton who died two or three years ago in November right around Thanksgiving. Author of many books including SPEAK NOW AGAINST THE DAY; about the generation of activists from the New Deal to Brown vs. Topeka, Kansas Board of Ed.
    Contact SFA at: info@southernfoodways.org
    Took a trip to Japan in July. They have discovered OKRA!
    Best regards,
    Gerald Fountain
    peachfuzz137@msn.com

  40. MattieCakes says:

    Hi – I just came from a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner hosted by Brazilians. As the representative “American,” I was asked to explain the history of Sweet Potato Casserole (with marshmallows). Well, I am from San Francisco! HAHA. I know nothin’ about it. Do you? Thanks. Love your writing!

  41. John May says:

    Michael,
    I am currently the chef de cuisine at Chef and the Farmer in Kinston. I’m leaving there in 6 days, to move to Greensboro to open a concept. There is a good deal of lead time before I begin my next project. I would love to come work with you for a little while. I am from Durham and my family has lived there forever. I feel a connection to the people, and I would love to become more connected. I’d love to bring the voice of the underrepresented to the forefront of my food. Please, let’s start a conversation. I would love to meet and cook with you.

    John

  42. Michael–this may not be the place to do it, but I must tell you that I’ve made the Brisket Berbere recipe 3 times since last Pesach, and it has now replaced that tired old Eastern European version. Made it again for 6th night of Chanukah, and was delirious with the results. Thank you so much! Chag Sameach.

  43. Nomzi Kumalo says:

    I am pleased to meet you. 🙂

  44. Doc Kurun says:

    Hope you come over to USNA soon!

  45. Marilyn Patterson says:

    Love your blog, would love to attend a cooking demonstration. How do I go about doing that?

  46. Vickie Rice says:

    Thank You Chef. Your strength research and information about Our Culinary History brings back My motivation for why I went to school. I’ve been in the kitchen since the age of 4 and I love every memory of it.

    First step, agriculture. Again I have to say Thank You Chef.

    Chef Vickie Rice Sutton

  47. Yemi Mahoney says:

    Request for Presentation.

    My name is Yemi Mahoney and I am the Director of the Multicultural Center at Saint Anselm College. We are interested in starting a diversity lecture series on our campus for the next academic year. We are located in Manchester, NH. I am in the process of building a database of potential speakers. Will you be lecturing next year? What is your honorarium for a 60 minute lecture with 15 – 20 minutes of Q & A afterwards? Could you email me your response to omahoney@anselm.edu? Thanks.

  48. elysecalloway says:

    Hey Twitty! Just discovering what you do, and love it! Your exploration of food, history, and cultural tradition is fantastic, and I love your way of embracing all parts of your identity. As a queer jew who served as a peace corps volunteer in west africa, I can definitely relate to how each ‘label’ brings so much joy to my life, and fully savor the deliciousness of west african and jewish cooking.

    Sorry if I’m missing something here.. I’d love to get your blog posts in an email subscription. Is there a button to click or other way to do that?

  49. Todd Ellner says:

    I live in the Pacific Northwest and am interested in less common produce. Just started your book on the Paw Paw and was wondering if I could grow it effectively in this part of the country.

    Also, I admire you efforts to create Kosher Soul Food. It’s takes skill and creativity to do it right without the treyf ingredients.

  50. Melissa Jones says:

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge, Michael. I was honored to see your story at the environmental film festival event at American University. You have a global reach-perspective and everyone needs to hear it!

    -Melissa

  51. Stan Mitchell says:

    Loved your article or open letter the the chef in Charleston. Please keep doing what you’re doing. I wish you had a show on the food network to point out the importance of food culturally. Amazing that no one even knows Africans cook. Or that blacks have many subsets in the diaspora. Creole, Gullah, Latino

  52. Kimberly Moore K.C. Moore on facebook says:

    I just saw your Bio and info on the Black Hedge Fund page and i am definitely going to be following you. I just started culinary arts school this padt summer wanting to learn and create finessed soul food! You have challenged me!!! I am extra motivated to this journey. Im in awe right now. I started a Facebook page on my journey into tjis world of culinary arts!

    If you have any advice I accept it humbly and with great appreciation.

  53. Fredrick Kaludus says:

    Michael, I want to thank for your work on early American food and I enjoyed you on Jas. Townsend and Son channel. Your right when reactors play the part of the American revolution, War of 1812 and Civil War everyone forgets to think about the slaves that toiled to keep the food cooking, the water flowing and everything else to the primary players. While some slave owners did free there slaves to fight and or serve in the wars. There were far more slave that served without reward. My family were well to do farmers in Virginia from 1700, I know they owned slaves, My first known great grand father had 25 slave and bond servants. We know that he passed these slaves on to his 10 children that survived. the male heirs split the land 4 ways with each sister receiving 5 acres. We don’t know much about the history after 1800 they were not wealthy enough to matter except one if they were kind or cruel but I hope kind I do know one of my ancestors freed his 3 slaves around 1808 while in the Kentucky legislature. But the history that we share no matter what ancestors did it is still the history that built America. Again I want to thank for your work on early American history, focusing on food and the life of the slaves.

  54. Chef Vickie says:

    I have been watching and following from afar. I’ve seen You in My cookbooks, research with seed companies and now “The Legacy of Nat Turner”.

    My Grandmother catered and I have a lot of Her recipes. My hard work, dedication and You have inspired a cookbook of My own.

    Thank You for your undying devotion and to be able to reference Your work as well as offer You a meal one day would be for me a great honor.

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