The Cooking Gene

The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South
by Michael W. Twitty. 

“This book is about finding and honoring 
the soul of my people’s food 
by looking deep within my past 
and my family’s story.” 
Michael W. Twitty

This Change Academy program is brought to you from Roanoke City Public Libraries, BOOK CITY Roanoke, and LEAP.

Monday, 3/22 – The Power of Family Stories, Black Eyed Pea Hummus, p. 80
Monday, 3/29 – Family Genealogy, Guest: Mia Coltrane, Beaten Biscuits, p. 116
Monday, 4/5 – Rice, Sugar, and Corn, Guest: Michael Carter, Jr., African Soul Fried Rice, p. 263
Monday, 4/12 – Foodways & Land Stewardship, Guest: Cameron Terry Recipe: Apple Crisp, p. 295
Monday, 4/19 – Fetching What’s Been Forgotten. Recipe: Funeral Potato Salad, p. 379

  • SAVE THE DATES: Mondays at 6:30 PM from March 22 through April 19.
    We’ll gather virtually with host Christina Nifong of Nourishing Stories and guest presenters for group conversation on five consecutive Mondays, from March 22 through April 19. We’ll read about food, place, history, heritage, access, and progress. And we’ll ready ourselves for another season of local food and connections with the season opening for the farmers’ markets on April 17

Mia Coltrane (3/29) currently serves as the Organizational Learning & Development Coordinator for the City of Roanoke, Virginia. She served 14 years in Retail Management and has served as a Private and Public sector Human Resource Professional in the Retail Management, State and Local Government fields. Mia has also served as an Adjunct Professor and Academic Advisor for Indiana Wesleyan University. In addition, she was an Academic Advisor for Hampton University and University of Maryland Global Campus and a Spouses to Teacher Academic Advisor with Old Dominion University. She is the owner and operator of SiVad Vision.

Mia’s quest in the genealogy world began over 10 years ago with the attempt to discover more about her family and lineage. She currently is the family genealogist and historian. She is also researching generational traits and how those traits can impact a family line. She feels, one must know who they are, regardless of the outcome when it comes to one’s family history. 

Michael Carter, Jr. (4/5) is  a 11th generation American/farmer, and is the 5th generation to farm on, Carter Farms, his family’s’ century farm in Orange County, Virginia where he gives workshops on how to grow and market ethnic vegetables. With Virginia State University, he is the Small Farm Resource Center Coordinator for the Small Farm Outreach Program. Virginia Association of Biological Farmers (VABF) and Virginia Foodshed Capital have him sit on their respective board of directors. He also serves as the state coordinator for the Black Church Food Security Network and as the food safety coordinator for the Six State Farm to Table organization. He acquired an agricultural economics degree from North Carolina A&T State University and has worked in Ghana, Kenya and Israel as an agronomist and organic agricultural consultant.  

As a cliometrician, curriculum developer and program coordinator for his educational, cultural and vocational platforms, Hen Asem (Our Story) and Africulture, he teaches and expounds on the contributions of Africans and African Americans to agriculture worldwide and trains students, educators and professionals in African cultural understanding, empathy, and implicit bias recognition.

Cameron Terry (4/12) moved from Denver to Virginia in the fall of 2017 with the dream of starting an urban farming business.  His formal education is in video production, with a career to this point spent in film projection booths, behind various cameras and in sales of fine ethnic art.  But work on a film about an inspirational farmer, vegetable gardening captivated his attention and took most of his free time for several summers.  He launched Garden Variety Harvests in the Roanoke Valley with the goals of bringing food sovereignty back to the local community and reducing the miles traveled from field to table.

  • GET THE BOOK: You may be able to get the book through Roanoke Public Libraries, or get a 10% discount by purchasing the book through our partner, Book No Further. Just click the link below and use the discount code CA2021.
  • KEEP ABREAST of upcoming titles and other BOOK CITY Roanoke news?  Sign up here.
  • ENCOURAGE YOUR GROUP to become a Change Academy Partner. Download the flyer. Learn more and sign up below.

American Association of University Women (AAUW) Roanoke Valley Branch
Beth Israel Synagogue
Black Girls Matter
Book No Further (Get 10% off the book in-store or using the link)
Central Church of the Brethren Race Education Team
City of Roanoke
Councilmember Bill Bestpitch
Councilmember Joe Cobb
Diversity Serves
Garden Variety Harvests
Hollins University’s Eleanor D. Wilson Museum
Nourishing Stories – Christina Nifong
Roanoke Arts Commission
Roanoke Higher Education Center Library
Roanoke Valley Points of Diversity
SERV – Standing for Equity in the Roanoke Valley
Total Action for Progress
Unitarian Universalist Church of Roanoke

Sign up to be a Change Academy partner. What’s it mean to be a partner? Simply that you’re signing on as a group to continue the conversation, the exploration, and or advocacy — however it makes sense for your group. This might be as simple as discussing the book as part of a church book group, or keeping each other informed as you take your next step in understanding antiracist strategies. It just means you’re interested in learning more and doing more together to make our community a better place for all.