Shared Soul: A Culinary Journey from West & Central Africa to the American South With Michael Twitty - Atlas Obscura Experiences

Shared Soul: A Culinary Journey from West & Central Africa to the American South With Michael Twitty

Wed, Jun 5, 2024
3 sessions
$85 per device
See Dates
$85 per device
$85 per person
See Dates
What We’ll Do

In this three-part lecture series, join Michael W. Twitty as he traces the historical culinary connections between West and Central Africa and the American South.

Course Description

Join James Beard Award–winning culinary historian Michael W. Twitty on a cultural journey from West and Central Africa to the American South, exploring the deep and enduring connections across the Atlantic world. Drawing from Michael’s research and gastronomic experiences across West Africa and the American South, each session will trace the histories of regional cuisines, ingredients, and dishes, complete with a Q&A segment and sample recipes for you to try on your own. By the end of the course, you’ll have a richer appreciation of the culinary contributions of Africa and her Diaspora and a fuller understanding of American food.

Syllabus at a Glance

There are three total sessions included in this purchase, each lasting for 1.5 hours on three consecutive Wednesdays beginning June 6.

Session 1 (Wednesday, 6/5, 7–8:30 PM ET): Chesapeake & Upper South

Session 2 (Wednesday, 6/12, 7–8:30 PM ET): Low Country & Lower South 

Session 3 (Wednesday, 6/19, 7–8:30 PM ET): Lower Mississippi Valley & Gulf Coast 

Between Sessions

Outside of class, students will have the option to engage with videos and recipes related to course content.  

Pricing Options

This course is available at three ticket prices. This tiered pricing model is designed to increase access for a wider range of students as well as to support our instructors. In addition to tiered tickets, we offer a limited number of no-pay spots for students who would not otherwise be able to take this course. No-pay spots are selected via a randomized drawing two weeks before each section begins. For more information and to apply for a no-pay spot, please click here. To learn more about our pricing model and randomized selection process for no-pay spots, please visit our FAQ page.

Community Guidelines for Students

Please take a moment to review our community guidelines for students, which aim to share our classroom ethos and help set the stage for the best possible learning experience.

Atlas Obscura Online Courses

Atlas Obscura Courses offer opportunities for participants to emerge with new skills, knowledge, connections, and perspectives through multi-session classes designed and taught by expert instructors. To learn more about our current course offerings, please visit For answers to commonly asked questions, check out our FAQ page here.

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Where We’ll Be

Once registered, you’ll receive a confirmation email from Eventbrite that will provide access to each class meeting. Please save the confirmation email as you’ll use it to access all sessions of your course via Zoom.

About Your Instructor
Michael Twitty
Michael Twitty

Michael W. Twitty is a culinary historian and food writer from the Washington D.C. area. He blogs at He’s appeared on Bizarre Foods America with Andrew Zimmern, Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates and most recently Taste the Nation with Top Chef's Padma Lakshmi. HarperCollins released Twitty’s The Cooking Gene, in 2017, tracing his ancestry through food from Africa to America and from slavery to freedom, a finalist for The Kirkus Prize and The Art of Eating Prize and a third place winner of Barnes & Noble's Discover New Writers Awards in Nonfiction. The Cooking Gene won the 2018 James Beard Award for best writing as well as book of the year, making him the first Black author so awarded. His piece on visiting Ghana in Bon Appetit was included in Best Food Writing in 2019 and was nominated for a 2019 James Beard Award.

What Else You Should Know

This lecture series is designed so students can participate live or watch a recording of each session, after it airs, at a time that is convenient for them. Sessions will take place live over Zoom, with dedicated Q&A segments for students to ask questions via video or chat. Within 72 hours after each session meets, students will receive access to a recording of the live session, which they can watch for up to two weeks after the course concludes.

Instructors may use Google Classroom to communicate with students outside of class. While students aren’t required to use Google Classroom, instructors may use this platform to post resources, discussion questions, or assignments. This platform also offers a space for students to connect with one another about course material between sessions.

We provide closed captioning for all of our courses and can share transcripts upon request. Please reach out to us at if you have any questions, requests, or accessibility needs.

Dates and Availability
  • Wed, Jun 5, 2024
    7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.
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