Reads: The Cooking Gene

The Cooking Gene, by Michael W. Twitty

An astounding mix of research surrounding the search for identity through African American food and culture, this savory blend of biography, memoir and history is a Must Read. Chef Twitty makes a masterful stew of information, personal enlightenment and emotional reaction to his quest to answer the age old question, Who am I? His honesty, openness and dedication to discovering truth is also an entertaining read. The opening of his Author’s Note captures it well:

“The Cooking Gene is a work of narrative nonfiction intended to weave together elements of genealogical documentation, genetic genealogy, firsthand accounts from primary sources, the most recent findings of culinary and cultural historians, and personal memoir. My aim has been to give a sense of the bric-a-brac mosaic that is the average African American’s experience when he or she attempts to look back to recapture our cultural and culinary identities obscured by the consequences of racial chattel slavery. 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.”

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