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Charley Blount Blog Post (9/7)

The opening chapters of Michael Twitty’s book, The Cooking Gene, shed a light on the underrepresentation of non-white culture in American society. For 400 years, white people have held a monopoly on American culture, making it difficult to discover and enjoy cultures that do not meet the cookie-cutter standards of “traditional American culture.” Specifically, Twitty discusses the origins of culture in food, identifying the slave plantations as the bedrock of southern food. 

These origin stories are often neglected due to a lack of historical evidence as well as a reluctance by some in the African-American community to revisit a history of  southern culture plagued by slavery Jim Crow. This attitude is changing, though, as the “modern South is … beginning to engage the relationship between the racial divide, class divisions, and cultural fissures that have tainted the journey to contemporary Southern cuisine” (Twitty 6). Twitty embodies a newfound willingness to pursue the roots of southern food. In his book, he describes his childhood memories of trying new foods and learning how to cook traditional African-American meals that included foods such as okra and field peas.

One story in particular struck me because it closely resembles my experiences with southern food. When Twitty took a trip to the South with his dad, they stopped at a restaurant and Twitty said, “So they give you all you want to drink, and lots of chicken and stuff, but there’s flies everywhere and it’s really hot all the time?” (Twitty 52). His description of a southern restaurant is very close to the experiences I’ve had in similar situations.

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One Comment

  1. Sofia Adams Sofia Adams

    I agree that white culture has seemed to dominate American culture. Which is sad when America is suppose to be a melting pot of culture. I think it is extremely disheartening that the origin stories of popular southern food (really any other type of cultural food) are not remembered. I think it is just as important (if not more) to understand/tell the origins of different types of food as it is to continue to cook and eat different cultural foods.

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