The Cooking Gene

By Michael W. Twitty,

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

Book description

2018 James Beard Foundation Book of the Year | 2018 James Beard Foundation Book Award Winner inWriting | Nominee for the 2018 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Nonfiction | #75 on The Root100 2018

A renowned culinary historian offers a fresh perspective on our most divisive cultural issue, race, in this…


Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. (learn more)

Why read it?

2 authors picked The Cooking Gene as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I’m a sucker for culinary history books, and this one is an absolute must-read, weaving together both food and race history as it spotlights what is, perhaps, America’s greatest culinary contribution to the world: southern cuisine. Twitty uses his own family’s story to highlight the significant contribution African Americans have made to American cooking, addressing the question of who ‘owns’ soul food, barbeque, and other Southern staples, and how that struggle reflects on race tensions and relations today. 

From Brianne's list on mouthwatering reads for foodies.

I am recommending this book because it delves deep into a people’s connection to land, plants and animals, food, and ancestors. Even without the privilege of written history, the powerless can find a power in the past.

From Kara's list on power and the powerless.

Want books like The Cooking Gene?

Our community of 7,000+ authors has personally recommended 10 books like The Cooking Gene.

Browse books like The Cooking Gene

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in food, American cuisine, and the South?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about food, American cuisine, and the South.

Food Explore 50 books about food
American Cuisine Explore 14 books about American cuisine
The South Explore 125 books about the South