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Michael Twitty holding up vegetables in front of his face
By BOTWC staff
Published: 24 February 2022

Award-winning writer Michael Twitty is teaching a MasterClass about lineage tracing through food, the Washington Informer reports.

The cooking gene

In 2018, Twitty made history as the first African American author to receive the James Beard Award for Book of the Year, for his work “The Cooking Gene.” He is also the founder of Afroculinaria, a blog that explores culinary history, African and African American foodways. Now, Twitty is set to lead a unique digital MasterClass, helping others discover and document their family food histories through storytelling, genealogy and writing. Twitty hopes to use food culture to help others uncover unique cultural and familial history about their ancestors, emphasizing the importance of archiving and preserving family food history. 

“As someone with many intersections of identities - Black, gay, Jewish, Southern, male - all of those things put together means that if my experience is something rich and worthy of dialogue, so is yours…"

Understanding the culinary journey of our ancestors gives us something to be proud of "

"In my class, I will teach members how to preserve their ancestors’ legacy and continue telling their story through food,” said Twitty. 

Creating a personalised cuisine

In the class, Twitty will take a deep dive into the meaning and importance of foodways, those cultural and social practices regarding food that are inherited. He will also explore the history of foodways as it pertains to the transatlantic slave trade and the antebellum South, taking a deeper look at racism’s impact on Black culinary offerings and customs. Twitty will also give a detailed guide on how to interview family members to create your own unique cuisine DNA story. And of course, the class won’t be complete without some firsthand cooking lessons, Twitty guiding viewers on how to cook African American staples like black-eyed pea fritters and okra stew. 

The goal is for users to not only walk away with a renewed appreciation for food and its complex history but also to shine light on their own food stories, allowing them a deeper and more personal connection to their family and culture. 

“Michael is a culinary historian who has revolutionized the way we understand what we eat. He roots his class in his personal journey, teaching members how to see food as the lens and vehicle for understanding who we are, where we come from and how to preserve a family legacy,” said David Rogier, founder and CEO of MasterClass. 

Twitty joins a new roster of MasterClasses shining light on Black history this month. The platform recently announced a roster of more than 50 free MasterClasses that include lessons from the likes of Angela Davis, Nikole Hannah-Jones and Cornel West. 

Michael Twitty’s MasterClass is currently available on www.masterclass.com.

This article was originally published on BOTWC

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