Roundtables

Text on dark blue background that says The Smithsonian Food History Weekend Roundtables

A day of free conversations about the migration of people and food in American history.

Friday, October 27, 2017• 9:30 a.m.–6 p.m.

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ABOUT

The Smithsonian Food History Roundtables are a series of free, moderated conversations for all inquiring minds. Leading researchers, practitioners, and thinkers come together to address big issues around food in America via four roundtable sessions over the course of the day. All sessions are free with registration strongly recommended and all sessions will be held in the Warner Bros. Theater at the National Museum of American History.

Accessibility: Please notify us as soon as possible at foodhistory@si.edu if you have any accessibility needs for the Roundtables.

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REGISTRATION

The Roundtables are free for all to attend with registration strongly recommended.

Why should you register? Seating capacity at the Roundtables is limited and will be filled on a first come, first seated basis first for all registered attendees and then to all walk-ins. Only Registered attendees to the full day or Session 1 will be permitted to enter the museum early at 9:30 a.m. for the first session of the day. The museum will open to the public and walk-in attendees at 10:00 a.m.
 

Update: As of Monday, October 23, free registration for the Roundtables is at capacity. Didn't get a chance to sign up? Don't worry! We will have a stand-by line for each session for any and all interested walk-ins. Stand-by seats will be filled on a first come, first seated basis after all registered attendees have taken their seats. Stand-by for Session 1 will open when the museum opens to the public at 10:00 a.m. and we anticipate more space will available in the afternoon sessions. 

 

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WATCH ONLINE

For all our food history friends who are not able to attend in person - we'll bring the Roundtables to you! 

Tune in right here on Friday, October 27 at 9:30 a.m. for the Roundtables livestream. Tweet your questions using #SmithsonianFood for the Q&A portion of each session.

 

 

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2017 FULL SCHEDULE 

Session 1 | Session 2 | Lunch | Session 3 | Session 4 | Happy Hour

SESSION 1: MIGRATION NATION

9:30 AM–10:45 AM

A discussion to open the day with a wide-reaching conversation about how migrations of people throughout American history have shaped our foodways and influenced profound cultural exchanges around food. 

Please note: Attendees must register in advance online to enter the museum for the start of this session (museum will open to the general public at 10:00 a.m.).

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Hasia Diner

Paul and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History, New York University

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Matt Garcia

Professor of Latin American, Latino & Caribbean Studies and History, Dartmouth College

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Maricel Presilla

Culinary historian, author, and chef

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Krishnendu Ray

Chair, Department of Nutrition and Food Studies, NYU

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MODERATOR
Francis Lam

Host, public radio's The Splendid Table

SESSION 1 BOOK SIGNINGS

10:45 AM - 11:45 AM

Hasia Diner 

  • Hungering for America: Italian, Irish, and Jewish Foodways in the Age of Migration

Matt Garcia

  • Food Across Borders

Maricel Presilla

  • Peppers of the Americas
  • Gran Cocina Latina

Krishnendu Ray

  • The Ethnic Restaurateur
  • The Migrant’s Table: Meals and Memories in Bengali-American Households

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SESSION 2: HELP WANTED

11:10 AM–12:10 PM

Whether in the fields, factories, or restaurant kitchens, how has working in food provided an economic toehold for migrants throughout American history? How are opportunities limited and how do individuals experience success? 

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Heather Lee

Assistant Professor, NYU Shanghai

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Tracie McMillan

Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism 

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Jose Oliva

Co-Director, Food Chain Workers Alliance

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Dominic Pacyga

Former Professor of History, Columbia College/Chicago

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MODERATOR
Theresa McCulla

Historian, American Brewing History Initiative, National Museum of American History

SESSION 2 BOOK SIGNINGS

12:10 PM - 1:30 PM

Tracie McMillan

  • The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee's, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table

Dominic Pacyga

  • Slaughterhouse: Chicago Union's Stock Yard and the World It Made

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LUNCH IN THE STARS & STRIPES CAFE

12:10 PM–1:30 PM

Lunch break! Join other Roundtables participants downstairs on the lower level for lunch on sale in the Stars & Stripes Cafe. (Look for the specially marked seating section for Roundtables attendees)

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SESSION 3: SERVING UP TRADITIONS

1:30 PM–2:30 PM

How do we express our identity and culture through food? Which traditions are kept and which evolve into something new? What are the forces driving those decisions? 

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Daniel Bender

Canada Research Chair of Global Culture and professor of History and Food Studies, University of Toronto

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Lois Ellen Frank

Chef, author, Native foods

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David S. Shields

Carolina Distinguished Professor, University of South Carolina

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Toni Tipton-Martin

Author

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MODERATOR
Lavanya Ramanathan

Features writer/editor, The Washington Post

SESSION 3 BOOK SIGNINGS

2:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Lois Ellen Frank

  • Foods of the Southwest Indian Nations: Traditional and Contemporary Native American Recipes  
  • Taco Table

David S. Shields

  • The Culinarians: Lives and Careers from the First Age of American Fine Dining
  • Southern Provisions: The Creation and Revival of a Cuisine Southern Provisions

Toni Tipton-Martin

  • The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks

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SESSION 4: TALES OF THREE DISHES

3:00 PM–4:00 PM

How does an individual dish or recipe tell a story? Unpack the ingredients and techniques of three different dishes with three culinary experts and explore how the dish communicates their past, themselves, their family, and more.

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Jessica B. Harris

Culinary historian and author

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Joan Nathan

Cookbook author

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Alfredo Solis

Chef, El Sol and Mezcalero Cocina Mexicana

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MODERATOR
Simon Majumdar

Food writer, author, and broadcaster

SESSION 4 BOOK SIGNINGS

4:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Jessica B. Harris

  • My Soul Looks Back
  • High on the Hog  

Joan Nathan

  • King Solomon’s Table: A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World

Simon Majumdar

  • Fed, White, and Blue: Finding America with My Fork
  • Eat My Globe 

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ROUNDTABLES HAPPY HOUR

4:00 PM–6:00 PM; S.C. JOHNSON CONFERENCE CENTER

Stick around at the end of the Roundtables for a Happy Hour gathering for attendees, participants, and Smithsonian Food History staff so that we can continue the conversation over light appetizers and drinks. Network and chat with new food history friends or reconnect with colleagues while discussing the day's happenings.

Free registration is required for entry to the Happy Hour 

You must be 21+ to attend the Happy Hour; I.D. required at the door.

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2017 PARTICIPANTS

Listed in alphabetical order

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Daniel Bender

SESSION 3 • Canada Research Chair of Global Culture and professor of History and Food Studies, University of Toronto

Daniel Bender is the Canada Research Chair of Global Culture and professor of History and Food Studies at the University of Toronto. He is the director of the UofT’s Culinaria Research Centre and is the author or editor of five books, including, most recently, The Animal Game: Searching for Wildness at the American Zoo (Harvard University Press, 2016). He is currently working on a study on food, empire, and tourism, entitled Travelling on their Stomachs. At the University of Toronto, he teaches courses in global food history, food and empire, and culinary ethnography.  

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Hasia Diner

SESSION 1 • Paul and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History, New York University

Hasia Diner is a scholar of immigration and ethnic history, as well as American Jewish history. Hungering for America: Italian, Irish and Jewish Foodways in the Age of Migration (Harvard University Press) and Roads Taken: The Great Jewish Migration to New Worlds and the Peddlers Who Led the Way (Yale University Press) both explore the role of food in migration, community formation, and integration of immigrants into new societies and homes.

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Lois Ellen Frank

SESSION 3 • Chef, author, Native foods

Lois Ellen Frank, Ph.D. is a Santa Fe, New Mexico based Native American Chef, a Native foods historian, culinary anthropologist, educator, James Beard Award winning cookbook author, photographer and organic gardener. She is the chef/owner of Red Mesa Cuisine, LLC a Native American catering company specializing in ancestral Native American cuisine with a modern twist. Dr. Frank has spent over 25 years documenting and working with the foods and lifeways of Native Americans in the Southwest and other regions throughout the Americas. This lengthy immersion in Native American communities culminated in her book, Foods of the Southwest Indian Nations, featuring traditional and contemporary recipes, which won her the James Beard Award in the Americana category.

Dr. Frank works with the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) on a program entitled The Power to Heal Diabetes:Food For Life in Indian Country using the Ancestral Native American diet for health and wellness in Native Communities throughout the Southwest. She is a consultant with the Cultural Conservancy (TCC) on their Native Foodways program in the San Francisco Bay Area and is also a featured cooking instructor at the Santa Fe School of Cooking where she teaches classes on Native American cuisine. Dr. Frank is an adjunct professor at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), where she teaches one semester a year about the Indigenous Concepts of Native American Foods.

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Matt Garcia

SESSION 1 • Professor of Latin American, Latino & Caribbean Studies and History, Dartmouth College

Matt Garcia is Professor of Latin American, Latino & Caribbean Studies and History at Dartmouth College.  He previously taught at Arizona State University, Brown University, University of Oregon, and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His book, A World of Its Own: Race, Labor and Citrus in the Making of Greater Los Angeles, 1900-1970 won the award for the best book in oral history by the Oral History Association in 2003. His most recent book, From the Jaws of Victory: The Triumph and Tragedy of Cesar Chavez and the Farm Worker Movement, won the Philip Taft Award for the Best Book in Labor History, 2013.  He is the co-editor of Food Across Borders with Melanie DuPuis and Don Mitchell that will be published by Rutgers University Press in fall 2017.  Garcia served as the outreach director and co-primary investigator for the Bracero Archive Project, which received a National Endowment for the Humanities Grant in 2008, and was the recipient of the Best Public History Award by the National Council for Public History in 2009-2010.

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Jessica B. Harris

SESSION 4 • Culinary historian and author

Jessica B. Harris is the author, editor, or translator of eighteen books, including twelve cookbooks documenting the foods and foodways of the African Diaspora. She has lectured widely in the United States and abroad and has written extensively for scholarly and popular publications. Harris consults internationally, most recently for the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture on their new cafeteria and Oxford/Brookes University, Oxford England on their Gastronomica Program of which she is a patron. She holds degrees from Bryn Mawr College, Queens College/CUNY, The Université de Nancy, France, and New York University. Harris was recently granted an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Johnson & Wales University and the inaugural lifetime achievement award at the Soul Summit: a gathering of people working in the area of African American food. Dr. Harris is editor for the Sea Changes series from University Press of Mississippi, on African American food, folklore, and material culture, and is a professor at Queens College/C.U.N.Y. in New York. Her most recent book is My Soul Looks Back: A Memoir.

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Francis Lam

SESSION 1 • Moderator • Host, public radio's The Splendid Table

Francis Lam is the host of public radio’s The Splendid Table, editor-at-large at Clarkson Potter, and serves on the board of the Southern Foodways Alliance. His writing and editing have won numerous awards from the James Beard Foundation and the International Association of Culinary Professionals. In past lives, he was a columnist for the New York Times Magazine, a judge on Top Chef Masters, the features editor at Gilt Taste, a senior writer at Salon.com, and a contributing editor at Gourmet. His work has appeared in ten editions of the Best Food Writing anthology. He believes that in professional football, that would count as a dynasty; in ancient China, not so much.

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Heather Lee

SESSION 2 • Assistant Professor, NYU Shanghai

Heather Ruth Lee is an assistant professor of history at NYU Shanghai. She is writing a history on New York’s Chinese restaurants, and is also creating a database of historical restaurants for public use. Her research has been featured in NPR, Atlantic magazine, Village Voice, No Jargon, and Gastropod.

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Simon Majumdar

SESSION 4 • Moderator • Food writer, author, and broadcaster

Simon Majumdar is a world-renowned cook, author and broadcaster who has dedicated the second half of his time on this planet to fulfill his ambition to “Go Everywhere. Eat Everything." It is a journey that has taken him to all fifty states and to dozens of countries around the world. He has written three books including Eat My Globe, Eating for Britain, and his latest, Fed, White and Blue, catalogues his journey to American citizenship. Simon is also a well-recognized personality on the Food Network, regularly appearing on shows such as “Iron Chef America,” “The Next Iron Chef,” “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” “Cutthroat Kitchen,” “Extreme Chef” and “Beat Bobby Flay.” He has also appeared as an expert commentator on National Geographic's major series “EAT: The Story of Food." He lives in Los Angeles.

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Tracie McMillan

SESSION 2 • Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism 

A working-class transplant from rural Michigan, Brooklyn-based writer Tracie McMillan has been covering America’s multiracial working class since the late 1990s. She has written about food and class for a variety of publications, including The New York Times, the Washington Post, National Geographic,National Public Radio, Harper’s Magazine, Mother Jones, Saveur, and Slate. In 2012, she published her New York Times bestseller, The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table. The book was awarded the prestigious Sidney Hillman Prize for Book Journalism and a Books for a Better Life Award. The American Way of Eating was also named a finalist for a Goodreads Reader’s Choice Award; an International Association of Culinary Professionals Food Matters award; an Investigative Reporters and Editors Award; and a James Beard Journalism Award. McMillan lectures widely, speaking across the country about her work and the topics it covers, from farm  labor to cooking, America’s growing class divide to eating on a budget. She has taught journalism at Wesleyan University as a Koeppel Journalism Fellow and currently serves on the awards committee for the James Beard Journalism Awards. 

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Theresa McCulla

SESSION 2 • Moderator • Historian, American Brewing History Initiative, National Museum of American History

Theresa McCulla holds a PhD in American Studies, an MA in History, and a BA in Romance Studies from Harvard University, and a Culinary Arts Diploma from the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. Previously, she managed the Food Literacy Project for Harvard University Dining Services and worked as a media analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency. She is writing a book about race in the New Orleans food industry.

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Joan Nathan

SESSION 4 • Cookbook author

Joan Nathan is the James Beard Award winning author of eleven cookbooks including her latest work, King Solomon’s Table: a Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World. She is a regular contributor to The New York Times and Tablet Magazine and her work has been featured by NPR, the PBS NewsHour, and the Today Show, among other outlets.

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Jose Oliva

SESSION 2 • Co-Director, Food Chain Workers Alliance

Jose Oliva was born in Xelaju, Guatemala, on November 15, 1972 to Myriam Gonzalez a popular educator. As a result of Jose’s mothers’ involvement in social justice issues, they were forced to flee Guatemala in 1985. Once in the U.S. Jose went to work at the Midwest Latino Research and Policy Center at the University of Illinois in Chicago under the direction of Dr. Aida Giachello. He then was called to be Executive Director of Casa Guatemala where he began to organize day-laborers in Chicago’s street corners. He founded the Chicago Interfaith Workers’ Center and then became the Coordinator of Interfaith Worker Justice’s National Workers' Centers Network. In 2008 he became the coordinator for the Workers’ Alliance for a Just Economy a program of the Center for Community Change.

Jose served in several leadership positions at the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United the national organization of restaurant workers. Jose is the Co-Director of the Food Chain Workers Alliance a national coalition of food-worker organizations that collectively represents over 300,000 workers. Jose is a 2017 James Beard Award recipient.

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Dominic Pacyga

SESSION 2 • Former Professor of History, Columbia College/Chicago

Dominic A. Pacyga received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1981.  He has authored, or co-authored, six books concerning Chicago’s history including his latest book Slaughterhouse: Chicago’s Union Stock Yard and the World It Made (2015), Chicago: A Biography (2009) and Polish Immigrants and Industrial Chicago (1991, 2001). He has lectured widely on topics ranging from urban development, residential architecture, labor history, immigration, to racial and ethnic relations, and has appeared in both the local and national media. Pacyga has been a member of the Humanities, History and Social Sciences Department at Columbia College/Chicago since 1984. He has also worked with numerous, museums and neighborhood organizations as well as ethnic, labor, and fraternal groups to preserve and exhibit their histories. Pacyga has been a Visiting Professor at both the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago. In 2005 he was a Visiting Fellow at Campion Hall, Oxford University. He was awarded a Fulbright Grant and taught in the Institute for American Studies and the Polish Diaspora at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland during the 2013-2014 academic year. Pacyga is currently working on a study of Polish Chicago under contract to the University of Chicago Press. 

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Maricel Presilla

SESSION 1 • Culinary historian, author, and chef

Maricel Presilla is the chef-owner of two pan-Latin restaurants (Cucharama and Zafra) and a cooking atelier (Ultramarinos), president/founder of Gran Cacao Company (a cacao importer), a frequent contributor to Saveur, and a former medieval Spanish history professor (Rutgers). She has been profiled in the New York Times and Washington Post, and led the White House's Latin culture showcase in 2010. She was named the James Beard Best Chef Mid-Atlantic in 2012; her opus, Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America, won the James Beard Book of the Year in 2013; and she was inducted into the Beard Foundation's Hall of Fame in 2015.

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Lavanya Ramanathan

SESSION 3 • Moderator • Features writer/editor, The Washington Post

Lavanya Ramanathan has been a features writer and editor for The Washington Post since 2004, covering a variety of issues, including the culture around food and restaurants, and development and change in Washington, D.C. She created the Post’s 40 Essential Dishes story in 2012, and now often returns to the subject of food as she covers immigrants and their U.S.-born children. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and Northwestern University’s Medill School, she has previously worked for New York’s Newsday newspaper and the Orlando Sentinel.

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Krishnendu Ray

SESSION 1 • Chair, Department of Nutrition and Food Studies, NYU

Krishnendu Ray is the Chair of the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at NYU. Prior to that he was a faculty member and an Associate Dean at The Culinary Institute of America. He is the author of The Migrant’s Table (2004), The Ethnic Restaurateur (2016), and the co-editor of Curried Cultures: Globalization, Food and South Asia (2012).

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David S. Shields

SESSION 3 • Carolina Distinguished Professor, University of South Carolina

David S. Shields is the Carolina Distinguished Professor at the University of South Carolina and Chairman of the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation. Shields has been the recipient of the Southern Foodways Alliance’s Ruth Fertel Keeper of the Flame Award. His recent books include Southern Provisions: the Creation and Revival of a Cuisine (2015) and The Culinarians: Lives and Careers from the First Age of American Fine Dining (2017). 

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Alfredo Solis

SESSION 4 • Chef, El Sol and Mezcalero Cocina Mexicana

Chef Alfredo Solis and his sister, Jessica, opened El Sol Restaurant & Tequileria in Washington, DC, in 2014, and Mezcalero in 2017 where they feature authentic Mexican cuisine inspired by their heritage. Born and raised in Mexico City, the duo moved to DC where they cut their teeth working in some of the city's finest restaurants, advancing from dishwasher to executive chef positions. With over a decade of culinary experience, they struck out on their own, creating menus driven by the foods they grew up with, from street food staples like Huaraches (flatbreads stuffed with cactus, fresh cheeses and meats) to Tortas and Tacos. 

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Toni Tipton-Martin

SESSION 3 • Author

Toni Tipton-Martin is a culinary journalist, author and community activist who has dedicated her career to building a healthier community. She is the author of the The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks, a book that celebrates the important legacy of African American cooks and their cookbooks. She is the winner of a 2015 James Beard Book Award, the 2015 Art of Eating Prize, and the recipient of a 2015 Certificate of Outstanding Contribution to Publishing from the Black Caucus of the Library Association. She founded a 501c3 nonprofit organization that promotes the connection between cultural heritage, food and health through two events, the Children’s Picnic: A Real Food Fair and Soul Summit: A Conversation About Race, Identity, Power and Food.

Toni was the first African American Food Editor of a major daily newspaper, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and she was the nutrition writer for the Los Angeles Times and a contributing editor to Heart and Soul Magazine.  Toni serves on several professional boards as a member of the James Beard Awards Committee and as a founding member of the Southern Foodways Alliance and Foodways Texas. She also is on the Advisory Board for Oldways’ African Heritage Diet Pyramid. 

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If you would like to support the 2017 Food History Weekend or for more information on how to get involved, please contact Kari Fantasia, Deputy Director for External Affairs, at 202-633-3302 or FantasiaKa@si.edu.