Skip to content
Northwest Harvest
Donate Now
Find Partner Food Programs

Culinary Connections: Alex Titus and Pride Month

Culinary Connections celebrates all the ways food influences our lives and our connection to community and land. Join us as we feature stories from Northwest Harvest’s staff and their culinary heritages.

In honor of LGBTQIA+ Pride Month, we sat down with our very own Alex Titus, Internal Communications Manager, who shared stories of food, connection, and family.

“It’s a common joke in Southern Louisiana that momma cooks the everyday meals, and daddy gets the glory meals,” Alex Titus, Northwest Harvest’s Internal Communications Manager, explained. “During the week, our mom did most of the cooking, because she got home from work before our dad. Normally we would cook most of our meals from scratch, to keep costs down, but in classic Southern fashion, we did prepare Zatarain’s sides or rice during the week. On the weekends and all major holidays, Dad cooked. He would get up early on Saturday to prepare coffee for each member of our family – not just brew the coffee, but he actually took the time to prepare it according to everyone’s individual preferences and would deliver our mugs to us in bed. He would spend all day smoking sausage, cooking crawfish and crab, slow roasting meats, and grilling.”

Alex Titus poses smiling next to a dark blue wall, wearing a colorful shirt and jeans.

Alex grew up in rural Louisiana in a house that backed up to a canal. Their family’s home was not just a house, but a hub of culinary tradition and communal gathering.

From a young age, Alex learned the art of Southern living and cooking from their parents. Their father, a skilled electrician with a knack for building, had crafted a gazebo over the water behind their house where they would fish for their meals. The family regularly caught crab and crawfish, trapped rabbits, and foraged for wild greens – all in their backyard. Cooking wasn’t just confined to the indoors; a large pot on the porch served as a focal point for outdoor gatherings, where crabs were boiled in bulk, and flavors simmered under the open sky.

Inside, the kitchen was a place of serious business and warm hospitality. Alex’s mother presided over the stove with grace. Each year for Thanksgiving, she whipped up her famous turkey gumbo, which was then frozen and saved to enjoy another day. In their youth, Alex was often in charge of stirring the roux – a sacred duty. Despite being a kid’s job, stirring the roux was a big responsibility. If the roux burned, the dish would be flat and the flavors off. If the roux was done well, it would provide a robust and rich flavor profile that would make the dish absolutely irresistible.

The community’s culinary rituals extended beyond their own kitchen. Boucherie celebrations were a highlight, marking joyous occasions with the communal butchering of pigs. Alex vividly remembered the solemnity of the ceremony—the prayer, the gunshot, and the meticulous process of preparing every part of the animal. It wasn’t just about sustenance; it was about solidarity and shared labor, making the significant task of breaking down a hog feel like a collective endeavor rather than a chore.

Food wasn’t just sustenance in Alex’s world; it was a bridge between cultures and communities. They grew up appreciating the intricate flavors of Cajun and Creole cuisines, aware of the rich history behind each dish. Their grandmother’s coveted oyster stuffing recipe, whose secrets have been heavily guarded, became a centerpiece of holiday meals—a testament to the importance of preserving culinary heritage.

Beyond the kitchen, Alex found themselves drawn to social justice work, their passion fueled by a desire to serve their community. Food justice became a natural extension of their upbringing—a way to address systemic inequities while celebrating cultural diversity. They sought out roles in organizations aligned with their values, where they could make a tangible impact on issues close to their heart. Alex found themselves at Northwest Harvest two years ago: “When I came to Northwest Harvest, I told them at my interview that this was also an interview for them. I wanted to make sure I was working for an organization that I was aligned with.”

As Alex reflected on their journey, they found solace and strength in their queer identity—a source of liberation from societal expectations. They shared the freeing nature of queerness and transness: “I’m just me. In my view of the world, gender is fake, so there is no such thing as being queer because there is no such thing as an assumed binary or default orientation. I’m just authentic to myself. I’m free and joyful and I can be anything I want to be.” In queer community, Alex has been embraced for who they truly are, free to express themselves authentically without fear or reservation.

Food, family, community, and identity intertwined seamlessly in Alex’s narrative—a tapestry woven from the threads of tradition, resilience, and the joy of sharing meals with loved ones. Each dish, each celebration, each act of culinary creation was a testament to the power of food to nourish our bodies, minds, and hearts. In their world, the kitchen was more than a room—it was a sanctuary where stories were shared, traditions upheld, and love expressed in the form of a well-cooked meal.