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Richland Library hosts discussion on race, culinary history

Cultural historian Michael Twitty, Gullah Geechee chef BJ Dennis featured speakers in virtual event
Credit: Provided

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Richland Library is hosting a virtual discussion on race 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 12 featuring Michael Twitty and B.J. Dennis – two African American chefs and culinary historians.

Twitty has researched and written about the origins and history of foodways in the Old South; Dennis is a standard bearer for the influence of Gullah Geechee culture in American cuisine.

Twitty’s book The Cooking Gene summarized his work connecting food history to personal family history as he traced his genetic family from Africa to America, from slavery to present day. He seeks to engage in a discussion on the way food connects all of us on so many levels – culturally, politically, economically and racially.

As a culinary historian and historical interpreter, in 2012 Twitty launched The Southern Discomfort Tour where he would visit plantations and places of cultural importance and immerse himself in the slave cook's role in the kitchen, sharing history while preparing dishes with traditional ingredients. His blog Afroculinaria documents his journey.

Dennis is a personal chef and caterer based in the Lowcountry, specializing in Gullah Geechee cuisine. He has helped revive “lost” recipes and has played a part with bringing back heirloom grains working with the Carolina Gold Foundation.

To sign up for the Let’s Talk About Race: A Conversation with Culinary Historian Michael Twitty event, register at richlandlibrary.com