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Culinary Historian Michael Twitty To Visit Locust Grove

Historical interpreter and culinary historian Michael Twitty will be in residence at Locust Grove May 22 through May 25, 2018  for Africa In Our Kitchens, a series of workshops, presentations, and tastings. Michael Twitty is a dedicated researcher who is committed to preserving and promoting African-American foodways and culture, and linking this influence on Southern food heritage. His research brings an understanding of the cultural heritage of enslaved communities and its relationship to the American South. His book, The Cooking Gene, was released by HarperCollins in 2017.

Twitty’s week-long residency at Locust Grove will explore the influence that African culture had on what has become American food through the enslaved African American experience. “Kentucky has an impressive and important role in the history and heritage of Southern and African American foodways and I hope my visit amplifies that story,” says Twitty of his visit.

Twitty’s residency will involve three formal public events, and focus on the enslaved community at Locust Grove. According to Brian Cushing, Locust Grove’s Program Director, “Michael Twitty’s visit is one of the best opportunities we have had yet to bring the experiences of the enslaved African Americans who worked the Locust Grove farm two centuries ago to life for our visitors. At any given time between 1792-1856, they comprised the majority population on the property that is now our museum and through exploring the food that they brought with them and created here, we are hoping that visitors come closer to understanding them as real, individual human beings.”

On Tuesday, May 22 at 6:00 pm, Twitty will offer a hearth meal tasting, allowing guests to taste traditional recipes cooked in Locust Grove’s hearth kitchen while hearing how the lived experiences of enslaved African Americans inform our national story and taste buds. Tickets are $18, or $15 for Locust Grove members.

On Thursday, May 24 at 6:00 pm, the public is invited to an open-air barbecue sampler that recreates the practices of enslaved African Americans living in early America. During the day, Twitty will roast a whole sheep over an open pit and prepare other 18th and 19th century recipes for sampling by evening guests. Tickets are $23, or $20 for Locust Grove members.

On both Tuesday, May 22 and Thursday, May 24, the Locust Grove hearth kitchen and grounds will be open for “Cooking Days with Michael Twitty.” Guests are welcome to stop by the hearth kitchen to view preparations, ask questions about recipes and techniques, and gain insight into how daily meals were prepared in the 18th and 19th centuries. Admission to the grounds for Cooking Days will be free. On Thursday, much of the preparations will take place on the grounds as Twitty roasts a whole sheep over an open pit.

Finally, on Friday, May 25 at 6:30 pm, Michael Twitty will present “Africa In Our Kitchens: How Enslaved African American Cooks Shaped American Cuisine.” This lecture will discuss Twitty’s research into the foodways of the enslaved and how their culture and experience shaped the American palate. Tickets for this presentation at $12, or $10 for Locust Grove members.

Africa In Our Kitchens: Michael Twitty at Locust Grove will take place May 22-25, 2018 at Historic Locust Grove. Tickets for all events will be on sale starting April 21 and may be purchased by calling Locust Grove at 502-897-9845.

Africa In Our Kitchens: Hearth Meal Tasting
Tuesday, May 22, 6:00pm – 8:00pm

Learn about 18th and 19th-century hearth cooking practices and the African influence on American cooking through enslaved cooks with historical interpreter and culinary historian Michael Twitty. During this tasting event, guests will taste traditional recipes cooked by Michael Twitty in Locust Grove’s hearth kitchen and hear how the lived experiences of enslaved African Americans inform our national story and national taste buds, as African culture and food practices became associated with American cooking. Tickets: $18/$15 for Locust Grove members. Tickets on sale April 21, 2018; call (502) 897-9845.

Cooking Tuesday with Michael Twitty
Tuesday, May 22, 10:00 am – 4:30 pm

Free admission to grounds and hearth kitchen to view preparations for the evening event.

Africa In Our Kitchens: Open Air Barbecue Sampler
Thursday, May 24, 6:00pm – 8:00pm

Experience an 18th century barbecue that recreates the practices of enslaved African Americans living in early America as Michael Twitty roasts a whole sheep over an open pit. The foodways of the enslaved have had a profound influence on the flavors that persist in American recipes, intrinsically linking African culture with our present understanding of traditional food. Michael Twitty’s food will give you a taste of the past while offering an understanding of the unique stories and experiences of enslaved African Americans. Tickets: $23/$20 for Locust Grove members. Tickets on sale April 21, 2018; call (502) 897-9845.

Cooking Thursday with Michael Twitty
Thursday, May 24, 10:00 am – 4:30 pm

Free admission to grounds and hearth kitchen to view preparations for the evening event.

Africa In Our Kitchens: How Enslaved African American Cooks Shaped American Cuisine
Friday, May 25 6:30pm – 8:00pm

In this presentation, historical interpreter and culinary historian Michael Twitty will discuss his research into the foodways of the enslaved and how their culture and experience shaped the American palate. Tickets: $12/$10 for Locust Grove members. Tickets on sale April 21, 2018; call (502) 897-9845.

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