Neilson Barnard—Getty Images for New York Times/Redux

When Michael W. Twitty’s debut book about the history of Southern cuisine, The Cooking Gene, came out, I thought it was absolutely incredible—here was someone who looked at food in all the most important ways, who knew that food is identity. Michael gets so clearly that food is how we understand ourselves and our history. With his latest book, Koshersoul, which looks at the creation of African Jewish cooking, he provides a new way to look at history and spotlight those who did not previously think they had a voice.

There’s nobody like him: he’s a wonderful writer, he’s incredibly thoughtful, and he understands the ways in which food can shape a person’s journey. He’s taken something that interests everybody and offered us a new way of looking at who we are. In telling his story, he makes each of us want to look into the past and reimagine our own stories.

Reichl is a food writer and the former editor in chief of Gourmet

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