DRMacIver's Notebook

Book Review: The Cooking Gene by Michael W. Twitty

Book Review: The Cooking Gene by Michael W. Twitty

I would describe this book as "good but not great", which is a shame because a lot about it is very good. This is a powerfully written book about the (black) author's experiences travelling around the south and learning about his ancestry. I learned a bunch of interesting and important details about:

Unfortunately, most of what I learned was details. The book meanders quite a lot, with very little in the way of unifying direction or synthesis, and often repeats itself. It felt more like a collection of essays that had loosely been edited together into a book, without any attempt to really tie them together or unify their content.

This would be fine in principle, except the book is quite long. The length is not in and of itself unwarranted - I would certainly have happily read a book of the same length on the same subject if I felt the length was well used - but it made me significantly more impatient with its structural flaws, and the result is a book that is locally very well written but globally fails to hold together, and as a result by the end of the book I was mostly impatient for it to be over despite mostly liking it.

I don't regret reading it, and I'm going to keep it around for a bit (mostly to try out a few of the recipes that are sprinkled throughout it), but I don't feel like I can really recommend it to anyone whose reading time or rate are more constrained than mine.