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Memorial Hall Library

The Cooking Gene: Tracing My African American Story Through Food with Michael Twitty via Zoom

Thursday, June 10, 2021 - 7:00pm

Join a community of 25 public libraries from across the state to welcome Michael Twitty, as he discusses his book, The Cooking Gene, the 2018 James Beard Foundation's Book of the Year Award-winner.  Massachusetts-based chef and author (and huge Michael Twitty fan), Chef Bill, will facilitate the discussion.

Register HERE. An email will go out the day of the event with information about the Zoom login and livestream link. Please note, registration will close 2 hours prior to this event.
African American culinary historian Michael Twitty found there was a giant hole in the story of American cooking and in the story of most African American families. In this unique memoir, Michael starts to trace his family history through the story of Southern and American food. Using genetic research, historic interpretation, nature study, heirloom gardening, and interviews with contemporary voices in food, his journey led him back to his family’s origins in West and Central Africa and put him center stage in the discussion over race and food in American life through his popular food blog, Afroculinara.
As 25 town libraries are collaborating to make this event possible (with the expected correspondingly sized audience), we will be utilizing two viewing modes: Zoom webinar and livestreaming through NewTV, to ensure everyone will be able to view the event at the same time.
For more information about Michael Twitty, visit  For more information on Chef Bill, visit

Michael W. Twitty is a culinary historian and food writer from the Washington D.C. area. He blogs at He’s appeared on Bizarre Foods America with Andrew Zimmern, Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates and most recently Taste the Nation with Top Chef's Padma Lakshmi. HarperCollins released Twitty’s The Cooking Gene, in 2017, tracing his ancestry through food from Africa to America and from slavery to freedom, a finalist for The Kirkus Prize and The Art of Eating Prize and a 3rd place winner of Barnes & Noble's Discover New Writer's Awards in Nonfiction. The Cooking Gene won the 2018 James Beard Award for best writing as well as book of the year, making him the first Black author so awarded. His piece on visiting Ghana in Bon Appetit was included in Best Food Writing in 2019 and was nominated for a 2019 James Beard Award. His next book, Rice will be out with UNC press in 2021. Kosher Soul, his follow up to The Cooking Gene, will be out in 2022 through HarperCollins.

This program is sponsored by the Groton Public Library Endowment Trust and a collaboration of libraries, including Memorial Hall Library.