Neustadt JAAMM Festival (Jewish Arts, Authors, Movies and Music)

Michael W. Twitty

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Stream began March 25, 2021 1:00 AM UTC
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Join JAAMM as we welcome an incredibly special guest, James Beard Award-winning author and food historian Michael W. Twitty, for an interactive lecture event around the holiday of Passover.


We encourage you to purchase Twitty's award-winning book "The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South" through our 2020-2021 Bookstore Partner, The Bookies.


Submit your questions in advance of the event by emailing festivals@jccdenver.org. Questions will be accepted through Monday, March 22.


Passover provides us with the opportunity to reflect upon our historical bondage of (and perseverance through) slavery, the elements of rebirth and new beginnings ushered forth in springtime, our diasporic longing for our biblical homeland, and our commitment to ensuring the freedoms of all those who may be oppressed. This story of Exodus and its importance to Diaspora culture is shared by not just the Jewish community, but the African American community as well. Learn from Michael Twitty as he contextualizes this shared narrative via the Seder plate, the symbolic heart of the Passover dinner table, reimagined with ingredients of the West African Diaspora.



About Michael W. Twitty:

Michael W. Twitty is a culinary historian and food writer from the Washington D.C. area. He blogs at Afroculinaria.com. He has appeared on Bizarre Foods America with Andrew Zimmern, Many Rivers to Cross with Dr. Henry Louis Gates, and has lectured to over 450 groups. He has served as a judge for the James Beard Awards and is a fellow with the Southern Foodways Alliance and TED, and was the first Revolutionary in Residence at The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Southern Living named Twitty, one of "Fifty People Changing the South and theRoot.com added him to their 100 most influential African Americans under 45 (Beyoncé beat him out as number one). He also made the Jewish Forward's list of most influential American Jews.


HarperCollins released Twitty’s THE COOKING GENE in 2017, tracing his ancestry through food from Africa to America and from slavery to freedom. THE COOKING GENE was a finalist for The Kirkus Prize and The Art of Eating Prize, and a third 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 highly anticipated book, KOSHER SOUL, is expected to be available in late 2021.