Michael Twitty, “Beyond ‘Slave Food’: Re-Organizing the Perceptions and Potential of African American Foodways”

Headshot of Michael Twitty, who wears a black vest over a blue shirt with a pink and blue tie.

Registration Information
The GSD’s Fall 2021 Public Programs are all virtual and require registration.

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Live captioning will be provided during this event.

Event Description

Join culinary historian Michael W. Twitty, author of the James Beard-winning book, The Cooking Gene, for a presentation and dialogue about the impact of the collective perceptions of African American foodways on how we experience a broader vision of healing. Often stigmatized as a continuation of socio-cultural trauma or defended with a mark of “authentic” racial identity, Mr. Twitty will help us explore alternative ways to see how the revitalization of ancestral foodways and culinary justice is a necessary part of our collective national experience.

Twitty’s lecture is the opening Keynote Address of the conference Landscapes of Slavery, Landscapes of Freedom: The African Diaspora and the American Built Environment taking place from November 5-7, 2021.


Michael W. Twitty is a living history interpreter, culinary historian, and food writer personally charged with teaching, documenting, and preserving the African American culinary traditions of the historic South and its connections with the wider African Atlantic world as well as parent traditions in Africa. He blogs at Afroculinaria.com. He’s appeared on Bizarre Foods America with Andrew Zimmern, Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, and most recently Taste the Nation with Top Chef‘s Padma Lakshmi and a special guest appearance in Michelle Obama’s Waffles and Mochi show on Netflix. HarperCollins released Twitty’s The Cooking Gene, in 2017, tracing his ancestry through food from West and Central Africa to America and from slavery to freedom. The Cooking Gene won the 2018 James Beard Award for best writing as well as the book of the year, making him the first Black author so awarded. His piece on visiting Ghana in Bon Appetit was included in Best Food Writing in 2019 and was nominated for a 2019 James Beard Award. Twitty’s next book, Rice with UNC press is currently fresh off the presses. Koshersoul, about his culinary journey as a Jew of African descent, will be out in 2022 through HarperCollins. He was most recently named a National Geographic Explorer in 2021.

Anyone requiring accessibility accommodations should contact the Public Programs Office at (617) 496-2414 or [email protected].