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Renowned Afroculinaria historian, Twitty accounts himself as a citizen of the Old South, a place where food is used as a medium by the people, to tell themselves who they are. And he has munificently documented his overstuffed food voyage of ” Southern discomfort tour,” in his culinary experience guide: The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South.
Twitty delightfully joins both the past and present, unveiling various culinary mysteries along the way. One such example is the famous abstract from this book: “chickens got served to preachers because chickens had always flounced in the hands of African priests, and nobody remembered why.”
The Cooking Gene doesn’t restrict itself to only about food. Throughout the book, Twitty magnificently integrates various historical details into a narrative form such as several accounts of the grueling slave labor of rice farming and tobacco; or the emotional excruciation of the slave auctions. The end result of this combination is simply fascinating.
Even though the primary focus is on the vast expanse of African-American cooking over the last few decades and its pivotal role in shaping the larger Southern American culinary tradition, the author seldom fails to delight us with a world requiring to think in terms of pecks, gills and drams.
Overall, The Cooking Gene is a quintessential, solicit exploration and at the same time, an inspiration for genealogists and cooks alike.