Devastation and Celebration: Digging into Culinary Roots, Race, and Place




Race, Race, African American Genealogy, Culinary History, Soul Food, Southern Cooking


First paragraphs:

If you don’t already follow Michael Twitty (@koshersoul on Twitter), you are missing out on reflections and extended commentary on his powerful and acclaimed book, The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South. On October 11, 2018, the author tweeted, “The Cooking Gene is a culinary Roots. I wanted other families in African America and the African Atlantic to see ways they could do similar work. I wanted to introduce my country to [its] Black Southern culinary heritage and West Africans to their cousins.” He clarifies, “My book is NOT a cookbook. It is a food memoir plus culinary history plus genealogical detective story with recipes. . . . 21 or so.”

This concise meta-analysis allows details and treasures of the 425 pages of text, including a new afterword, to fall into sharper relief. Of his winding and comprehensive book, Twitty writes in the author’s note, “If it were possible to give a linear, orderly, soup to nuts version of my story or any of my family’s without resorting to genre gymnastics, I would have considered it. Instead, I am pleased with the journey as it has revealed itself to me” (p. 427). . . .


Metrics Loading ...

Author Biography

Yona Sipos, University of Washington

Lecturer, School of Public Health

Cover of "The Cooking Gene"



How to Cite

Sipos, Y. (2019). Devastation and Celebration: Digging into Culinary Roots, Race, and Place. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 9(1), 127–129.