The Smithsonian Food History Weekend Festival

A full day of free activities and experiences celebrating food history for visitors of all ages.

Saturday, November 3, 2018 • 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. 

About | Cooking Demonstrations | Hands-On Activities | Deep Dish Dialogues | Grain Elevator | Sounds of Faith


The Food History Festival is a free day of hands-on learning, live demonstrations, talks, and stories exploring the past, present, and future of regional food cultures in America. Talented chefs, local organizations, experts, museum curators, students, and more will be on hand to spark conversation, lead activities, and dig into food history with museum visitors of all ages. All activities are free.

More details about the 2018 festival—including the schedule, participants, and subjects—will be announced in the coming weeks. For the most up-to-date information, sign up for the Smithsonian Food History newsletter.

One important thing to know about the Smithsonian Food History Festival: there are no food tastings available at this festival—just food history! There are, however, lots of things to do. And if you do get hungry while visiting, the museum has a cafeteria on the Lower Level.


Live cooking demonstration


Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, 1 West
Catch live cooking and conversations about regional foodways in the demonstration kitchen with special guests and Smithsonian Food Historian Ashley Rose Young.

Jason FloresDemo 1: Jason Flores

Oklahoma—Bringing the Outdoors In
11:15 a.m.–11:45 a.m.

Chef Jason Flores grew up in rural Oklahoma, cooking at his grandmother’s knee as she made dishes with game hunted and trapped by his family. Flores, now the Executive Chef at Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock, continues to “bring the outdoors in” with his cooking. Join us in an exploration of Oklahoman food traditions and of the importance of wild game in regional American cookery.

Recipes: Buttermilk Fried Squirrel | Pimento Biscuits


Aaron SanchezDemo 2: Aarόn Sánchez

Mexican Regional Cuisine in the U.S.
12:15 p.m.–12:45 p.m.

Chef Aarón Sánchez grew up traversing Mexico’s many regions and experiencing the country’s diverse culinary scene with his mother, Chef Zarela Martinez. Join Chef Sánchez as he prepares a unique mole to highlight regional Mexican foodways and their influence on American culinary culture.

Recipe: Manchamantel

12:45 p.m.–1:15 p.m.

Pre-signed books available
Aarón Sánchez • Simple Food, Big Flavor: Unforgettable Mexican-Inspired Recipes from My Kitchen to Yours


Maneet ChauhanDemo 3: Maneet Chauhan

Punjabi Traditions Meet Mexican Flavors in California
1:00 p.m.–1:30 p.m.

Chef Maneet Chauhan will cook up an introduction to the Mexican Punjabi American community that emerged in early 20th-century California. At that time, Punjabi migrants arrived in Southern California and found work on the region’s farms and fields. Many of these migrants married Mexican and Mexican American women, which resulted in new multicultural food traditions. Chef Chauhan will demonstrate some of these traditions and talk about the connections between Punjabi, Mexican, and American regional cuisines.

Recipes: Kesar Badam, AtoleGorditas Aloo Parantha with Salsa Verde Chutney

1:30 p.m.–2:00 p.m.

Booking signings
Maneet Chauhan • Flavors of My World: A Culinary Tour Through 25 Countries


Edouardo JordanDemo 4: Edouardo Jordan with special host Francis Lam

Expressing the South in Seattle
2:00 p.m.–2:30 p.m.

Chef Edouardo Jordan will prepare dishes that bring Southern flavors and cooking techniques to Seattle-based traditions and cultures. Chef Jordan will be joined on stage by Francis Lam, host of The Splendid Table. Together, they will discuss Jordan’s culinary inspirations and the importance of regional food traditions on his contemporary and celebrated cooking.

Recipe: Poulet Creole

2:30 p.m.–3:00 p.m.

Booking Signings
Francis Lam • Cornbread Nation 7: The Best of Southern Food Writing


Janice MarshallDemo 5: Janice Marshall

Creating Food and Community on Smith Island, Chesapeake Bay
3:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m.

Smith Island’s food traditions are rooted in the once abundant seafood resources of the Chesapeake Bay. Working the seasonal round of oysters, clams, and finfish, independent watermen and their families have made a living and created communities around the bay. In this demonstration, home cook Janice Marshall will share her recipe for oyster pie—a favorite winter meal in her home. She will also speak about the iconic Smith Island cake and the generations of women who have baked this regional favorite.

Recipes: Oyster PieSmith Island Cake 


Sean Sherman

Demo 6: Sean Sherman

Indigenous Foodways of the Midwest
4:00 p.m.–4:30 p.m.

Chef Sean Sherman will share indigenous food cultures of the Midwest, bringing our attention to the healthful and sustainable culinary practices of indigenous communities. Sherman, also known as the Sioux Chef, will showcase a part of North American cuisine that many Americans are unaware of and will help us explore the importance of Native American cuisine historically and in the present moment.

Recipe: Duck Pemmican

4:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m.

Book signings
Sean Sherman • The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen


A young museum visitor


Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, 1 West

Find food-history fun for all ages in the museum’s activity spaces! At The Kids Table, budding chefs can participate alongside the cooking demonstrations with objects to touch, smell, and see. In Wegmans Wonderplace, children ages 0–6 and their adults can play in a miniature Julia Child’s kitchen and practice planting in the Wegmans Wonderplace Farm. Spark!Lab is a space for curious minds ages 6–12 to create, collaborate, and invent. Wegmans Wonderplace and Spark!Lab are open 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. all weekend. You’ll find special Food History Weekend activities all around the museum.


Ellen King

Talk: Heritage Baking and Revitalizing the Local Grain Economy
10:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m.

A special presentation by Ellen King with Smithsonian Program Manager Katharine Mead

Join Ellen King, author of Heritage Baking and co-owner of Hewn Bakery in Evanston, Illinois, to learn about her journey researching historic grains, hunting down viable seeds, and partnering with farmers to create something new and unique to that region.

11:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.

Booking signings
Ellen King • Heritage Baking: Recipes for Rustic Breads and Pastries Baked with Artisanal Flour from Hewn Bakery


Panel conversation from Food History Weekend 2017


Warner Bros. Theater, 1 Center

Join curators, authors, chefs, and food enthusiasts as we dig deeper into subjects and stories linking food and regions in American history. Free registration strongly recommended.

Participants in the Deep-Dish Dialogues will sign copies of their books after their presentations. Books will be available for purchase onsite.




Aaron SanchezStephen Velasquez

Deep-Dish 1: Past, Present, and Place in Mexican Cuisine
10:45 a.m.–11:45 a.m.

Chef Aarόn Sánchez in conversation with Smithsonian curator Stephen Velasquez

With Chef Aarón Sánchez, we will explore Mexican and American cuisines grounded in regional Mexican traditions. How do chefs with roots in Mexico interpret regional Mexican cuisine in the U.S. and globally? What makes Mexican Mexican? And why do we care about the differences among Tex-Mex and Californian Mexican food? What are the historical, cultural, and geographic factors influencing for these interpretations?

11:45 a.m.–12:15 p.m., 1 East

Pre-signed books available
Aarón Sánchez • Simple Food, Big Flavor: Unforgettable Mexican-Inspired Recipes from My Kitchen to Yours


Francis LamSusan FenigerMary Sue Milliken

Deep-Dish 2: Meet the Women Who Won the 2018 Julia Child Award
12:30 p.m. –1:30 p.m.

The Splendid Table’s Francis Lam in conversation with Chefs Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken of Border Grill

Join author, editor, and host of American Public Media’s The Splendid Table Francis Lam as he interviews Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken, the recipients of the 2018 Julia Child Award. Feniger and Milliken have been business partners for more than 35 years and have taken inspiration from the global cuisines and fresh ingredients that thrive in Southern California. What’s the secret to their long business partnership and how have their cuisine and their ideas about restaurants and communities changed over time?

1:30 p.m.–2:00 p.m., 1 East

Deep-Dish 2 Book Signing
Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger • Mesa Mexicana and City Cuisine


Edna Lewis book coverSara B. FranklinMichael TwittyNina Williams-Mbengue Joanne Hyppolite

Deep-Dish 3: Edna Lewis and the Taste of Place
2:45 p.m.–3:45 p.m.

Sara B. Franklin, Michael Twitty, and Nina Williams-Mbengue in conversation with Smithsonian curator Joanne Hyppolite

The new book Edna Lewis: At the Table with an American Original, edited by Sara B. Franklin, inspires exploration of cooking, memory, and the power of place. Edna Lewis’s 1976 cookbook The Taste of Country Cooking introduced readers to the culinary traditions of her childhood home by powerfully evoking the sensory, seasonal, and cultural dimensions of life on a farm in Freetown, Virginia, a community founded by African Americans freed from slavery. We will explore Edna Lewis’s life in food and her contributions to American culinary history.

3:45 p.m.–4:15 p.m., 1 East

Deep-Dish 3 Book Signing
Sara Franklin • Edna Lewis: At the Table with an American Original
Michael Twitty • The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South



West Wing, 1 West
11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.

America’s Breadbasket, the Corn Belt, and more… what grows in different regions and how does it affect what we eat? Explore grains across America with farmers, millers, bakers, brewers, cooks, and historians in our pop-up exhibition. Try milling for yourself and join the conversation about regional differences and historical changes in growing, using, and enjoying these great grains.

Baking with Regional Grains and Flours
11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

After her nearby presentation at 10:30 a.m., Ellen King will continue the conversation in the Grain Elevator to show different loaves made with regional grains and flours.

More details coming soon!


Punjabi-Mexican Dancers

SOUNDS OF FAITH: Punjabi-Mexican Dance

Flag Hall, 2 Center
12:30 p.m. and 2:15 p.m.

Join us for a special performance that celebrates the rich regional culture of central California! Two dance companies, Duniya Dance and Drum Company and Ensambles Ballet Folklórico de San Francisco, mix South Asian bhangra and Mexican folkloric styles to tell the story of the Punjabi-Mexican community that formed in the farmland of California’s central valley at the beginning of the 20th century.


The National Museum of American History welcomes visitors of all abilities. Request for accessibility services can be made by phone at 202-633-3150 or by email at nmahprograms@si.edu. Two weeks prior notice is preferred.