A comprehensive, thoroughly researched deep dive into a subject that reveals the underpinnings of American empire. Twitty raises some fascinating questions: What does it mean to inherit a tradition from your ancestors? Who are your ancestors? How do you know? Can you inherit traditions if the tradition is lost in between you and the last ancestor who practiced it? What does it mean to recover your heritage? And even: what does it mean to be Black in America? What does it mean to be white?
The Cooking Gene answers these questions, too, in the only way it's possible to answer them, which is to say, in a way that is personal, and emotional, and complicated, and that might be different from the way I would answer them. But he has data to back him up! And feelings, which might be even more important. I got a little lost in the section on genetics--I don't care as much about genetics as I do about food! But I would recommend this book to any American and/or anyone who has ever eaten a meal on this continent. Pairs extremely well with Netflix's food documentary HIGH ON THE HOG.