Category: Health + Care


Almost done with moving after several days between our old and new apartment, not to mention helping my mom, which is its own feat. Hip still sore, but I believe getting better. Hanging in there, looking forward to getting back to strength training.

Four Time Blessed

“Since launching the Cooking Gene Project and its concomitant Southern Discomfort Tour in 2011, Twitty has crisscrossed the South from Maryland to Texas and back again, visiting dozens of restored plantations where he has cooked and lectured, immersed himself in old records and met with other culinary professionals, black, white and Native American. In the interest of comprehending his ancestors’ experience, he has also picked cotton (for 16 hours) and cultivated sugar cane and Carolina rice (an African variety that turned white South Carolina planters into millionaires)”

“So how did this self-trained historical cook and unaffiliated scholar — a man who majored in Afro-American studies and anthropology at Howard University but did not have the money to complete the coursework for his degree; who describes himself as outside the mainstream and “four time blessed” (“large of body, gay, African American and Jewish”); who for years supported himself (meagerly) as a Hebrew teacher; who underwrites the cost of his professional travel by crowdsourcing — come to be recognized as an important figure in the world of culinary scholarship?

The easy answer is Paula Deen.

In June 2013, shortly after disclosure of Deen’s past use of the n-word made her the culinary world’s reigning persona non grata, Twitty posted an open letter to her on in which he addressed Deen as a fellow Southerner, “a cousin if you will and not a combatant.” Twitty told Deen that far more repugnant to him than her use of the n-word was “the near universal erasure of the black presence from American culinary memory.” He described that phenomenon as a form of “culinary injustice that robbed blacks of a vital form of their history and identity.”

“Your barbecue,” he wrote, “is my West African babbake, your fried chicken, your red rice, your hoecake, your watermelon, your black-eyed peas, your crowder peas, your muskmelon, your tomatoes, your peanuts, your hot peppers, your Brunswick stew and okra soup, benne, jambalaya, hoppin’ john, gumbo, stewed greens and fat meat — have inextricable ties . . . to West and Central Africa.”

Twitty concluded his letter with an invitation to Deen to help him cook a meal of reconciliation at Stagville Plantation, a 30,000-acre spread near Durham, N.C., where 900 slaves once cultivated tobacco.”

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