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African American Foodways with Michael W. Twitty
Bernice Alexander Bennett host, welcomes Michael W. Twitty, a food writer, independent scholar, culinary historian, and historical interpreter who is personally charged with preparing, preserving and promoting African American foodways and its parent traditions in Africa and her Diaspora and its legacy in the food culture of the American South. Michael is a Judaic studies teacher from the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area and his interests include food culture, food history, Jewish cultural issues, African American history and cultural politics. Michael will highlight and address food’s critical role in the development and definition of African American civilization and the politics of consumption and cultural ownership that surround it.
Michael’s work is a braid of two distinct brands: the Antebellum Chef and Kosher/Soul. Antebellum Chef represents the vast number of unknown Black cooks across the Americas that were essential in the creation of the creole cuisines of Atlantic world. The reconstruction and revival of traditional African American foodways means seed keeping, growing heirlooms and heritage crops, raising heritage breeds and sustainably gathering and maintaining wild flora and fauna that our ancestors relied upon. The responsible exploration of the Southern food heritage demands that the cooks of colonial, federal era and antebellum kitchens and enslaved people’s cabins be honored for their unique role in giving the Southland her mother cuisine.
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