Food Historian Says Southern Cuisine Is Slave Food

NASHVILLE, TN (Ben Caxton) — In the South, you can’t go far without an opportunity to savor fried chicken, collard greens, sweet potatoes or cornbread. James Beard Award-winner and author of the book The Cooking Gene, Michael Twitty says these foods, like D-N-A, are among the only aspects of African-American identity that represent an unbroken line from Africa to present-day America. He adds that cash crops like rice, tobacco, and sugar – all grown and harvested by slaves – have profoundly shaped African-American cooking. “So, these crops shaped the way that people lived. They shaped the diet – rice, of course, could be the basis of an entire diet.” He adds that iconic Tennessee dishes like Nashville Chicken come from African foodways and customs, but notes that when these foods go “mainstream,” African-American cooks often don’t get the credit they deserve. Twitty points out that the lived experience of enslaved Africans is a key element of American cuisine and culture. “There’s so many our customs, so many of our ways of looking at seasoning and food, and everything else, that’s just straight up from, you know, Africa. But not just Africa – ethnic parts of Africa with deep roots and deep understandings.” He notes that cultural appropriation has led people to equate Southern food with “whiteness,” creating a false dichotomy between “soul food” and “Southern food” – although both cuisines come from the same tradition.

 


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13 Comments on "Food Historian Says Southern Cuisine Is Slave Food"

  1. Southern food is just that: food we as Southerners all ate.

  2. Well if slaves eat that good they sure we’re not starving an I’m sure glad they invented it.

  3. Yep, like the strange fruit hanging from the trees

  4. Yelp it was crap that they didn’t want in the big house

  5. Sure taste good if it’s crap!!!

  6. What an idiot!! To say such things about our wonderful foods!!

  7. Sounds like another idiot that can’t write so he makes up shit to gain attention and some gullible people buy it

  8. Everyone was not a rich plantation owner. All the food eaten by poor whites, slaves, and the rich is Southern food.

  9. Oh Give it a Rest!! Grow up whoever said that!!

  10. Maybe the media needs to quit entertaining such ignorance about hate, race, southern foods, blah blah blah, and anything that else keeps the pot stirred up and boiling over!!!! Let the fools be ignored!!!

  11. Did I miss something?? I had to read this article twice because I thought I did. I also looked my hardest to see where he says that “southern cuisine is slave food” and you’re totally taking this out of context. He’s honoring the aspect of African Americans that have translated the cooking, traditions from Africa and what they were made to eat, with an ability to bring about a new style they don’t always receive credit for.

  12. I had ancestors that were slaves in Europe. They ate what the rest of the population were eating unless you were the elite aristocracy

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