About a month after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, I received a phone call from a colleague asking if I wanted to take a trip up to New...
The history behind a single object can often tell many stories. In 2004 the museum acquired a stock certificate from an early Internet...
In moments of crisis, our first thoughts are usually to get in contact with the people we love. September 11, 2001, was a day when many...

Blog Posts in "Food History"

Squirrels seem to be everywhere until you need a few for your Buttermilk Fried Squirrel recipe.On stage at Smithsonian Food History Weekend...
When Chef Sean Sherman began speaking about his experiences growing up on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, he shattered all-too-...
Multiple layer cake
"Regions Reimagined," the theme for this year's Smithsonian Food History Weekend, will explore the power of place and the...
Chef adding spice to a dish of food
In 2018, the Smithsonian Food History Team is taking a close look at regional foodways and why they matter. From our monthly live-cooking...
Uncle Sam, playing a pipe, leads a group of children armed with farming tools. Text reads: “Follow the Pied Piper. Join the United States School Garden Army”
While most of us have heard of the victory gardens of World War II, many of us may not realize that those gardens are seeded in a history...
The top of a green wine bottle.
Congress passed the National Prohibition Act in January 1919, and a year later, Americans were barred from making, transporting, selling,...
A photograph of Korean food products—rice wine, soy sauce, and galbi (marinated meat) sauce—at a grocery store in Washington, D.C., that I...
Did that title grab your attention? Great.Happy National Beer Day! When you open your fridge shortly after five o'clock this evening (or...
Composite of four images, all showing streets and buildings in New Orleans
Celebrating the 300th anniversary of its founding this year, New Orleans is a city whose culture and cuisine have captivated the American...
Family members gather around a Thanksgiving table and smile.
Like many homes across America, in my home Thanksgiving meant turkey. Lots of turkeys. Five or six turkeys. The day before Thanksgiving, my...
(Zoom/Detail) Black and white photo of a woman on a stage. On stage are six fridges, two lamps, and a big banner that says "REA." On a table on the floor in front of the stage, a lamp. There are decorative tassels.
Before Alton Brown, Rachael Ray, and Giada De Laurentiis, there was Louisan Mamer (1910–2005). An early employee of the Rural...
A shiny metal object with a round base and small wooden handles. There is an object resembling a covered bowl with white material inlaid bearing an illustration
Americans eat a lot of waffles. According to the restaurant chain Waffle House, approximately 145 waffles are sold at the eatery throughout...
Color photo of two women in a kitchen surrounded by cookbooks, rosemary plants, dishes, plates, and more. One is holding a pan or pot and peering into it, while the other, by her side, does something that is hard to see due to a rosemary plant.
On the 105th anniversary of Julia Child's birth (August 15, 1912), the museum's food history team is thinking anew about Julia's life and...
A loaf of bread on a wooden surface. It is light wheat colored and the surface is rough
I do not bake. My cookies burn, my pie crust is either too dry or too sticky, and my pies turn out watery. So how did I find myself lead...
Against a blank white background, a white corduroy jacket with with an insignia on the left breast and stitching on the right
High school can be a challenging time for teens. Much as they do today, young men and women throughout the 20th century wrestled with...
Photograph of wooden box. The box has a wooden handle in the middle and a space for tools. Inside, there are two tools.
I am standing in the kitchen of Amelia Ceja, owner of Ceja Vineyards, and watching her stir a big bubbling pot of caldo, or chicken...
Illustrated advertisement for brewing companies. The design features illustrations of brown glass bottles, a cup, and lots of fancy scroll work as well as a red wax seal featuring a beer.
Getting to know just under two million objects, almost 17,000 cubic feet of archives, and around 140 curatorial and collections staff is a...
A pie in a dish that is crustless and looks like cream with pieces of fruit mixed in. In the middle are a number of pieces of fruit (the type that come in a fruit cocktail) piled up and the pie is lined by a ring of Nilla wafers.
Although Mad Men is over, we haven't stopped loving the 1960s. But how would our 2016 taste buds fare with 50-year-old recipes?...
Beer bug with a chubby middle and large handle. It is brown/tan in color. In white, an Aztec head illustration/cartoon and block letters K C O R.
Embarking on a research trip is always an exciting time for a historian, but this trip is especially important to me because it's the...
During the "Innovative Lives" event, curator Peter Liebhold (left) interviewed scientists Mary-Dell Chilton (center) and Robert Fraley (right).
The fall of 2016 was an important milestone in the history of agriculture—the 20-year anniversary of the first large-scale harvest of a...
A color portrait of a woman in a coral shirt and dark blazer. She sits outside.
Last summer, the National Museum of American History announced that we were hiring a brewing historian to join the team working...
This October 9, 1944, advertisement for Whitman's chocolate boxes shows a woman embracing a soldier in uniform kissing her cheek. On the bottom right is a box of Whitman’s Chocolate Sampler. The bold font reads, “A WOMAN NEVER FORGETS THE MAN WHO REMEMBERS,” and, “BUY MORE WAR BONDS.” In fine print below the box of chocolates reads, “If you can’t always get your favorite Sampler, remember it’s because millions of pounds of Whitman’s Chocolates are going to all our fighting fronts.”
Our blog covered a cornucopia of food history topics in 2016, but a few dishes rose to the top. Here are ten of our most-read blog posts of...
A cubed machine that is beige and brown in color. It has a switch near its base and a plug. Some features protrude from it, including a white piece on the top that has slats in it.
One of our favorite food history collecting trips over the last year started with a predicament we are all familiar with—the frustration of...
A lithograph of a recipe for cheese and onion pie. The instructions are written in a calligraphic style and look more like a story than a recipe. There are illustrations of onions on the page with the text.
For this year's Smithsonian Food History Weekend, we're exploring the theme of "Politics on Your Plate," how people, collectively and...
A sign about Eggs. It says "give eggs a break!" at the top and has an illustration of an egg man that looks sort of evil in the middle. Someone threw a cookbook at his head and broke it but he didn't seem to notice.
In the postwar, pre-digital age, a long road trip often ended with piles of paper—maps, brochures, menus, postcards, scribbled notes,...
This October 9, 1944, advertisement for Whitman's chocolate boxes shows a woman embracing a soldier in uniform kissing her cheek. On the bottom right is a box of Whitman’s Chocolate Sampler. The bold font reads, “A WOMAN NEVER FORGETS THE MAN WHO REMEMBERS,” and, “BUY MORE WAR BONDS.” In fine print below the box of chocolates reads, “If you can’t always get your favorite Sampler, remember it’s because millions of pounds of Whitman’s Chocolates are going to all our fighting fronts.”
"Do you like chocolate?" That's one of the first questions I ask museum visitors during a chocolate program I lead in the museum's Wallace...
The cover of a cookbook entitled "cooking with COLD." It is emerald green with an abstract illustration of a woman standing in front of a fridge, holding an ice cream cone, with two more in front of her and a jug.
The Patrick F. Taylor Foundation Object Project explores "everyday things that changed everything." One innovation that definitely...
Photo of a kitchen with light blue cabinets, a large rectangular dining table with marigold tablecloth, and lots of pots and pans.
Today we reflect on the legacy of Chef Michel Richard, who delighted generations of Washington, D.C., diners with his innovative and...
Julia Child and Pat Pratt in the kitchen in Cambridge, 1998. Photo by Christopher Hirsheimer.
To mark what would have been Julia Child’s 104th birthday on August 15, curator Paula Johnson shares new information on two works of art in...
Beer tray, about 1905, National Museum of American History
This spring, the museum announced a new initiative to collect, document, and preserve the history of brewing, brewers, and the beer...
Copper chocolate pot, 1740s–1760s
Hearing that Forrest Mars Jr. had passed away on July 26, 2016, put me in a sad but reflective mood. One of the giants of the chocolate...
A beer comb which looks like a tongue depressor with an elaborate handle that is a black vine-like design
A tall head sits upon a lively body. An inviting aroma wafts forward. In a moment, the rising head is lopped off.Your bartender pours beer...
Two women on stage, one in green and one in dark grey
The National Museum of American History hosted U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor in a discussion on...
For the third installment of our Patrick F. Taylor Foundation Object Project potluck series, we embraced 1950s cooking. We found...
Black and white photo: Two men in wine field with mountains in background.
American wine aficionados know the Judgment of Paris or Paris Tasting as the transformative tasting held in Paris on May 24, 1976, where 12...
Cover of "Recipes for Today" cookbook, with an illustration of a woman wearing a read and white dress and carrying a large bowl of soup
The Patrick F. Taylor Foundation Object Project team had a variety of reactions, taste-wise, to the 1930s recipes that...
Photograph of Wonderlier Tupperware set, 1954
For Women's History Month, we're taking a look at some of the ways that American women have made their place in the marketplace by...
Woman faces camera and smiles. She is wearing a small microphone. Standing in a kitchen/stage. Avocado on counter top. Cabinets behind her.
From the 2012 opening of the exhibition FOOD: Transforming the American Table, 1950–2000 to the most recent inaugural Smithsonian...
Small television with handle and turquoise frame around screen, which is slightly curved
For Super Bowl 50, we're sharing some 1960s objects from the museum's collections to add a little retro flare to any game watching party...
1700s copper chocolate pot
With an intense snow storm bearing down on the mid-Atlantic, we're looking to history and our collections to inspire us about how to eat,...
Color photo of 18 ounce Tabasco bottle
We don't just blog about food here at the museum. We celebrate it in our demonstration kitchen programs and our multiday Smithsonian Food...
One man and two women standing in an office with wooden cabinets, desk, and white walls
Curator and FOOD: Transforming the American Table, 1950-2000 exhibition project director Paula Johnson recalls a memorable visit...
Small brown puppet with big white eyes, photo
Does this puppet look familiar? Remind you of anyone you know? Does he bear a striking resemblance to a famous frog? This is one of Jim...
Photo of pumpkin surrounded by green leaves
Thanksgiving meals have come a long way since the first shared feast back at Plymouth Colony in 1621. While our reasons for gathering today...
1930s potluck spread
The members of the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation Object Project team have been poring over authentic period cookbooks as research...
1930s General Electric Monitor Top refrigerator
Electric refrigeration motivated Americans to rethink how they purchased, prepared, and stored food when it first took off in the 1930s....
1930s entrée salad molds, metallic containers with decorative designs on black background
The Patrick F. Taylor Foundation Object Project is a new learning space that explores "everyday things that changed everything."...
Lobster on a plate
Our American Food History Project recently introduced Food Fridays, a new cooking demonstration series on the Wallace H...

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