“High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America,” is a Netflix docuseries debuting Wednesday. The show is “a story of Black America’s resilience, enduring creativity and vital contribution to America’s kitchen,” according to press materials, and is based on the heavily decorated culinary historian Jessica B. Harris’s seminal book of the same name.
According to the Washington Post, the show’s executive producers Karis Jagger and Fabienne Toback learned of a book from former Esquire food editor Jeff Gordinier, who in turn heard of it from restaurateur and cookbook author Alexander Smalls. When Harris first heard that someone wanted to buy the rights to her book, she was shocked. “Who’d have thought?” she said. However, “If anybody likes the book enough to want to do something with it, why not see what they can do? And obviously what they could and did do was amazing.”
Primarily led by executive producer and Oscar-winning director Roger Ross Williams, the series’s four episodes, each just under an hour, serve the book to bring it to a new audience. Harris said she hopes viewers “learn that African American food certainly is an American food and that it is foundational to American food. And along with that, they would learn that African Americans, like their food, are foundational to American culture.”