The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South

Fri. March 23, 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

UVa Ruth Caplin Theatre

109 Culbreth Rd, Charlottesville, VA 22903 (in the same building as Culbreth Theatre)

Sponsored by: The Wesley Foundation at UVA and the UVa Department of Drama


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Michael W. Twitty (The Cooking Gene) wanted to know more about his roots and heritage, so he went on a multi-state, international journey to discover his place in Southern food history and his place in the American story. Searching for his food roots and family routes across the South, he discovered a way to bring all Southerners to the table in a spirit of culinary celebration and spiritual and racial reconciliation. He will share his story in this solo presentation.

Tickets: This program is free to attend, but tickets must be reserved through UVA Arts Box Office. Please click the Get Tickets button to reserve your free tickets to this program.


Why should you attend?

“Twitty ably joins past and present, puzzling out culinary mysteries along the way… An exemplary, inviting exploration and an inspiration for cooks and genealogists alike.”—Kirkus

“Twitty has accomplished something remarkable with The Cooking Gene… It’s a book to save, reread, and share until everyone you know has a working understanding of the human stories and pain behind some of America’s most foundational and historically significant foods.”—Christian Science Monitor

“Written in Michael W. Twitty’s no-nonsense style and interlaced with moments of levity, The Cooking Gene is gritty, compelling, and enlightening—a mix of personal narrative and the history of race, politics, economics and enslavement that will broaden notions of African-American culinary identity.”—Toni Tipton-Martin, author of The Jemima Code

The Virginia Festival of the Book and the Wesley Foundation of UVA appreciate the support of the following organizations for Mr. Twitty’s participation in the Festival:
Black College Women at UVA
Black Student Alliance at UVA
LGBTQ Student Services at UVA
Minority Rights Coalition at UVA
Queer Student Union at UVA
St. Paul’s Memorial Church/Koinonia
The Brody Jewish Center – Hillel at UVA
The Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies
The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at UVA
The JUEL Project (Jefferson’s University—Early Life Project, 1819-1870)
Trinity Episcopal Church
UKirk Presbyterian Campus Ministry
University Arboretum and Landscape Committee
UVA Department of Religious Studies
UVA Department of American Studies
UVA Office of African-American Affairs Luther P. Jackson Black Cultural Center
UVA Office of the Vice President and Chief Officer for Diversity and Equity
Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church
Westminster Presbyterian Church


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