Food, Community & Government

Our Narratives Connect Us

Michael W. Twitty

Lesson time 06:56 min

Understand how the traditions and foodways that are passed down to all of us intersect, and how we can use that commonality to open a positive dialogue. Michael shows how recording and preserving food experiences can help you craft your own food legacy.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Preserve and Protect Your Stories


[MUSIC PLAYING] - As you look through those pieces of our history and our story, it's so critical to be able to see how our roots, how our customs, how the things that were passed down to us, and how our culture all sort of intersect. You have to look at this through holistic lens. It's not one piece above the others. There is no such thing as, let's just look at the food for what it's worth and the ingredients and look at a couple of stereotypes and fakelore, and that's our culinary tradition. Nuh-uh. Our culinary tradition is rooted. Our culinary tradition is specific. And our culinary tradition is contextual. And so by putting all those different pieces together, what I'm hoping that you'll get out of this and what I'm hoping you'll take away is this idea that that complexity relies on how much you know your own story and how much you're able to connect your story to these wider, bigger themes that attach all of our African-Atlantic histories together in one bundle. You know, when I talk about food, I want people outside of our group, outside of our bubble, outside of our community to be able to understand and see themselves in our own narrative. You know, when people talk about Irish history and Irish culture, especially the history of the Irish in America, it is almost impossible not to have the potato famine of the mid-19th century brought up. And what's so remarkably humanizing about that narrative is that, you know, there were, you know, thousands of people who were killed through starvation. And there were millions of people who immigrated to all corners of the world after that massive catastrophe. And it wasn't just a natural catastrophe, but a catastrophe that could have been avoided or given assistance. But there were oppressive factors and marginalizing factors against the Irish people. And so that event alone, among others, has been my inspiration to give you sort of a perspective that says to you, hey, we have very similar narratives in our own culture and history-- in fact, narratives that connect to this narrative and beyond. So we have these stories that connect us, connect us not just based on a sense of oppression or trauma, but also a sense of survival and a commitment to strive, a commitment to overcome. And once you, as people, as human beings, understand displacement or taking back your heritage foods or heirloom ingredients for the purpose of rebuilding and recommitting to a new understanding of who your people are, there's a connection there. People can look at each other and go, OK, we went through that. You went through that. We have something in common. We have a conversation that we can have that puts us beyond the spaces that have been created by a hierarchical perception of race and color. [MUSIC PLAYING] The first thing you should do when you finish this class is start gathering. Gather pictures of your kitchens, people who were in them, kitchen table conversa...

About the Instructor

Through years of unearthing his African American heritage, bestselling author of The Cooking Gene Michael W. Twitty discovered undeniable ties between his ancestors’ past and his own palate. Now he’s teaching how you can get a taste of your family history through food. Explore the migrations that informed the ingredients in your kitchen—then re-create the dishes that helped shape who you are.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Michael W. Twitty

James Beard Award–winning author of The Cooking Gene teaches how to trace your culinary roots through the food your ancestors ate.

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