My food is my flag: A conversation with Michael W. Twitty
"Who are you, and what does the plate of food you put before me communicate to us about who you are?’ We’ve all heard the question. My answer is plain. My food is my flag.”
In his James Beard award-winning book, The Cooking Gene, culinary historian Michael W. Twitty explores the contested history of Southern food by tracing his own his ancestry and personal history back to Africa through to the American South, and the present day. Along the journey, he addresses questions of authenticity, authority, and ownership, and explores what it really means to cook from a place of heritage, identity, and belonging.
At the heart of his book and of our Toronto conversation is the question of how we build social justice through food, and what role we each play in that shared cultural undertaking.
About Michael W. Twitty
Michael W. Twitty is a noted culinary and cultural historian and the creator of Afroculinaria, the first blog devoted to African American historic foodways and their legacies. He has been honored by FirstWeFeast.com as one of the twenty greatest food bloggers of all time, and named one of the “Fifty People Who Are Changing the South” by Southern Living and one of the “Five Cheftavists to Watch” by TakePart.com. Twitty has appeared throughout the media, including on NPR’s The Splendid Table, and has given more than 370 talks in the United States and abroad. His work has appeared in Ebony, the Guardian, the Washington Post,and on NPR.org. He is also a Smith fellow with the Southern Foodways Alliance, a TED fellow and speaker, and the first Revolutionary in Residence at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Nominated for the Kirkus Prize in nonfiction, he won the 2018 James Beard Award for best food writing and book of the year. @KosherSoul
About Denise Balkissoon
Denise Balkissoon is a columnist at the Globe and Mail, and previously edited food stories in the Life section. @balkissoon