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Skidmore College
Jacob Perlow Series


Kosher/Soul?: Black-Jewish Identity Cooking

Mount Sodom, Stephen Shore



A lecture by Michael Twitty

With an introduction by Nurcan Atalan-Helicke, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Skidmore College 

Monday, March 25
7:00 PM, Filene Recital Hall in Filene Building
Free and open to the public

Being African American and Jewish is for many a combination that many can’t wrap their heads around. However, for thousands of Jews of color, having heritage, faith, and family in both Diasporas—African and Jewish—and their many intersections means creating material, social, and ideational lives that interweave identities and histories. For Michael, this includes food and the ways Black and Jews have mediated otherness and oppression using what they eat as well as the global stories Diasporic foodways have to offer. Join Michael on an exploration and a taste of what he calls, “Koshersoul.” 

Michael W. Twitty is an African American chef, food activist, independent scholar and author of “The Cooking Gene: A Journey through the African American Culinary History of the South” published in August 2017. He is a culinary historian, and historical interpreter personally charged with preparing, preserving, and promoting African American foodways. His cooking and promoting efforts trace the parent traditions of these foodways in Africa and her Diaspora and its legacy in the food culture of the American South.  Michael is also a Judaic studies teacher from the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area and his interests include food culture, food history, Jewish cultural issues, and cultural politics.

Michael blends two brands: Antebellum Chef and Kosher/Soul: Kosher/Soul is the brand that deals with what Michael has termed “identity cooking.”  On his website he defines these:  “Identity cooking is about how we construct complex identities and then express them through how we eat.  Very few people in the modern West eat one cuisine or live within one culinary construct.  Being Kosher/Soul is about melding the histories, tastes, flavors, and Diasporic wisdom of being Black and being Jewish.  Both cultures express many of their cultural and spiritual values through the plate and Kosher/Soul is about that ongoing journey.” 

There will be food demonstration and book signing accompanying the event.

This presentation is part of the Jacob Perlow Event Series sponsored by the Office of Special Programs. Funding is provided by endowments established by Jacob Perlow and by Beatrice Troupin. The event is co-organized by the Tang Teaching Museum, Sustainability Office, Environmental Studies and Sciences Program, Intergroup Relations, and the English Department.

Related event:

Sugar, Slavery, and Power

Brown Bag with Michael Twitty and Rachel Seligman, Assistant Director for Curatorial Affairs and Malloy Curator, in conjunction with the Tang exhibition Like Sugar.

Tuesday, March 26 
12 - 1 pm
Tang Teaching Museum
Free and open to the public

 About the Jacob Perlow Series: A generous grant from the estate of Jacob Perlow - an immigrant to the United States in the 1920s, a successful business man deeply interested in religion and philosophy, and a man who was committed to furthering Jewish education - supports annual lectures and presentations to the College and Capital District community on issues broadly related to Jews and Judaism.