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The Kid Should See This

Food of the Enslaved: Michael Twitty cooks recipes from American history

Historic interpreter and culinary historian Michael W. Twitty preserves and promotes the food traditions of enslaved African and African American communities in the 18th and 19th centuries. From the dishes he makes to the period clothing he wears, his reenactments as an enslaved cook honor and embody those everyday people of color whose stories are not often told in American history.

In the video above, Twitty introduces an Okra Soup to Jon Townsend, who features 18th-century living, cooking, and technologies on his prolific YouTube channel. In the video below, the second in a series of videos filmed at Gunston Hall Plantation in Virginia, Twitty demonstrates how to make a black-eyed pea fritter snack called Akara:

Next, Michael Twitty mixes Medieval spice traditions and two different sauces into the low and slow ritual of barbecuing:

In this last video, Twitty makes a popular cornbread hash called kush:

Related reading: How Slaves Shaped American Cooking and An Introduction to Early African American Foodways Interpretation. Plus, from Tolerance.org: A Framework for Teaching American Slavery.

Watch these videos next: The exceptional life of Benjamin Banneker, weaving on Mount Vernon’s 18th-century loom, Pecan – How Does it Grow? and Sweet Potato vs. Yam: What’s the Difference?

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