Author and chef Michael W. Twitty explores the culinary cultures behind his African-Jewish cooking and identity in his new book, "Koshersoul: The Faith and Food Journey of an African American Jew."
Twitty described the book as a food memoir with recipes. He said he wanted the title to show people he could be “one braided challah” of his identities, with “Kosher” to represent his Jewish side, and “soul” to display the “essence of Blackness.”
“I define myself in the terms of being African American, being Black, being gay, being Jewish, being a Southerner,” Twitty said during an appearance on Boston Public Radio Friday. “And, you know, I come from strong people. You know, I'm nothing that my ancestors weren't. And that survivor instinct is what goes into all my identity.”
Twitty, winner of the 2018 James Beard Book Award for his book “The Cooking Gene,” said food has the power to explain who we are. He said he wrote his latest book to read like a “kitchen table conversation” where people can share intimately how food has shaped their lives.
“It's written that way because I wanted to make space for my vulnerability, for hopefully the compassion in my voice and make room for my mistakes as well,” Twitty said. “And so when I talk to people and I learn about how they deal with food, of course, one of the big things about food is your sense of purpose. Who is it feeding? Why are you feeding them? What are you what are you giving up? What's the sacrifice? What's the sharing?”