I had the pleasure of attending Dine Diaspora‘s debut Dish & Sip event. Can I say I learned more about the history of African food than I’ve learned anywhere else…Michael Twitty, the guest speaker was riveting.
I ain’t gonna lie I went because I thought the event was going to be like one of Oprah’s exclusive dinners where a group of people talk and share over a sumptuous dinner prepared by a distinguished African chef. Dine Diaspora, does host exclusive dinners but Dish & Sip wasn’t like that; it turned out to be much more.
“You will know me by my food.”
We were treated to a story instead, Michael Twitty‘s, that is. Michael is a culinary historian for African food. There aren’t very many people who’ve studied how and why Africans (across the globe) eat what they do. Michael is one of the very few, if not the only one. As someone who’s always looking for the backstory about African traditions, I was immediately intrigued by the wealth of knowledge Michael has amassed through his independent scholarship. His personal mission is to help us see our interconnectedness through food: “to preserve and promote African-American foodways and its parent traditions in Africa and her Diaspora and its legacy in the food culture of the American South.” Apparently I’m not the only one taken by his work because Mr. Twitty is also a recent Ted Fellow among his cohorts is Blitz the Ambassador, the musician from Ghana.
I’m so looking forward to the next Dish & Sip event. We may not have gotten to taste some heavy-hitting African food but we were treated to full-sized Divine Chocolate bars! (Hello, fair-trade chocolate from Ghana!) Michael was a great debut guest speaker because so much African history is tied up in the stories we tell about and around our food. And food ties the whole diaspora together. I was so shocked to eat what was clearly waakye at a Cuban restaurant in Miami several years ago, but knowing what I know now about the history of the Americas, and the African diaspora I’ve been able to understand and see the connection though food because history is somehow preserved through it.
Check out more about Dine Diaspora here.