“Most of all I would like more coming to terms with what happened…I think what needs to be done is for all of my fellow citizens in this country to understand what happened and to be able to say, this is what was done and now we must think about how to make the playing field level for all of us in this country, and by some ways for all of us eventually in the world. Because we can’t live by ignoring that past.” –Sidney Mintz

In this bonus edition of The Secret Ingredient, Raj Patel, Tom Philpott and Rebecca McInroy revisit the conversation with anthropologist Sidney Mintz about his seminal work “Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar In Modern History.”

The interview took place in September of 2015 and later that year on December 27th Dr. Mintz passed away.

In this extended interview, Mintz not only takes us through our prehistoric relationship to sweetness–from the bloody history of slavery and sugar production to our current state of the mass production and consumption of sweetness worldwide, but he also talks about his development as an anthropologist and thinker. He discusses his time as a student of anthropology and how he was able to study in Puerto Rico, along with who was influencing his thinking at the time. He also talks about how factories developed on the sugar plantations and the way slavery developed in the New World, as well as the role this brutal past plays in current volatile racial relations in the U.S.

As hurricanes continue to wreak havoc on the Caribbean and our hearts go out to all those who are suffering, we look to Mintz for wisdom and guidance in the days ahead.

“The history of slavery in the Caribbean is traumatic. It’s a difficult legacy and I don’t think that it’s been well processed. So the serving of tea becomes this way to sort of address that. To consider, how can we move forward? What does it look like to think about healing in a space like that?” -Annalee Davis
Annalee Davis is a Barbadian artist and activist, whose work addresses the complicated legacy of slavery in the Caribbean. On this edition of The Secret Ingredient Raj Patel, Tom Philpott and Rebecca McInroy enjoy her serving of (Bush) Tea at the KUT studios in Austin, Texas where she was preparing to open her show This Ground Beneath My Feet – A Chorus of Bush in Rab Lands at the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Her exhibition is on view until December 15, 2016.