The Cooking Gene – Michael W Twitty

The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South,  by Michael W. Twitty is another book that I picked up from the Millennium Library’s New and Noted Section. If you can get past all the latest and greatest diet and nutrition fad books, there are generally one or two worthwhile titles to pick up and read. I was particularly interested in this book after having recently read John T. Edge’s the Potlikker papers.

*Before I get into this post, for some unrelated, bonus, Dining with Donald content, here’s a link to an article I wrote on Feasting for The Rupert’s Land News, our Diocesan newspaper.*

I first heard of Twitty when I came across a link to a talk he gave on Culinary Justice. I was unfamiliar with his work, and when I went looking for some background information, that is I Googled him, I discovered that he first came to prominence when he wrote an open letter to Paula Deen. This letter came amid Deen’s firing from the Food Network over her use of racist language.

Twitty was already in the process of laying the groundwork for what would end up as The Cooking Gene. The book is a deep and complex look into Twitty’s family life and history, and how that family life and history is intertwined with the history of The Old South(he explains at the opening of the book his own definition of what The Old South means). Twitty identifies as a Black, Jewish, Gay man, and these three combine to

The Cooking Gene cover

The cover of Michael W Twitty’s The Cooking Gene.

I’m not sure how well qualified I am to review this book. Being a middle-aged, white, Canadian has kept me far removed from the outrages and injustices visited on Twitty, his ancestors, and his modern, black contemporaries. I will however give a few thoughts.
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Simba Safari Grill

Simba Safari Grill is one of the trucks I visited when I went to the Red River Ex last month. Simba Safari Grill represents a new diversity on the Winnipeg food truck scene.  It’s owners are Kenyan and are bringing African cuisine to the streets. You’ll usually find them in the Tuxedo business park.

A few years back I was involved with a group called FocusAfrica. This is a local group working to fight the ongoing AIDS crisis in Africa.  While involved in several countries their main focus has been in the country of Kenya.  Eating together plays a fairly substantial role in the group.  As well, many fundraisers have involved African cuisine as part of the evening.  Having had the opportunity to try some African cooking at these events, I was happy to see the Simba Safari Grill truck on the streets.

What follows are some of my thoughts on the truck:

Simba Safari Grill Menu

The menu. Note that the canned drink price is regulated by the Red River Ex


Each of the items on the menu is in the $3.00-$5.00 range.  If you order individually you get a good deal.  The portion sizes for each item is quite large.  With the combo you get plenty of food.  I would say it was a great value, but when I ordered on Canada Day the combo was $12.00 not the $10.00 on the sign above.  I don’t know if they were hoping to take advantage of the Canada Day traffic or if this is a permanent change.  If permanent still a good buy but not great. 4/5 Continue reading

Midway Food at Red River Ex Evolving

Last year, the Red River Exhibition gave me and some other bloggers the opportunity to test out some of the new food they were offering. This year they gave me the same chance. I received some vouchers to try some of the entrees available on the Midway.Park entrance to Midway delights.

Having done it once before I wondered if there would be enough variety to try it again.  No fear.  I tried three new places this year, and there were a few more that I will mention that I didn’t get around to trying.

Most of the best are located in the Expressway, but keep your eyes open as you go along the midway for places like Extreme Fries aka Lorrie’s Lunchbox.  Extreme Fries sister truck, BBK is in the Expressway. If you are a fan of the Half Moon, they are new as well. There are other places out on the midway that are worth a second look as well. Continue reading