Michael W. Twitty
The Culinary Historian
Prime era: 2009-2013
Does he take good photos of tasting menus? No, this is a totally different type of blogging, so relax your mind and set your conscience free—you might just learn something. Twitty is a culinary anthropologist with an underrepresented beat: The foodways of enslaved African and African Americans, and how they continue to influence the way we eat. In addition to the unique angle, it's the research that makes Afroculinaria stand out; the blog is essentially an ever-evolving museum of black food culture around the world, designed to honor what Twitty describes as "the vast number of unknown Black cooks across the Americas that were essential in the creation of the creole cuisines of Atlantic world."
The Cooking Gene, meanwhile, was a standalone, crowd-funded project that traced Twitty's journey from Maryland to Louisiana, exploring his genealogy and the legacy of slavery through food along the way—fascinating, meaty stuff.
Also awesome: His Twitter handle is @KosherSoul. What do you know about African American seders? Probably nothing, which is yet another reason to read Twitty, who is a Judaic studies teacher in D.C. and uses his blog to explore the importance of foodways to Jewish culture.
MAD props: Twitty just presented at Rene Redzepi and David Chang's MAD Symposium in Copenhagen, solidifying the respect he's earned among the food world's leading thinkers.
Required reading. If you want a taste of why Twitty's voice matters in the current landscape of food media, read An Open Letter to Paula Deen