Food History Weekend 2018

2018: Regions Reimagined

The Gala The Roundtables The Festival Last Call

On November 1-3, 2018, our fourth annual Smithsonian Food History Weekend brought together culinary leaders, researchers, practitioners, and scholars to inspire museum visitors to understand the history of food in America and the role we all play, individually and collectively, in shaping the future of food. We explored the history and changing dynamics of regional food cultures in the United States: How have regional foodways expressed their place? Who and what shape regional identities? How are new ideas about regions reviving, shaping, and reshaping food in America?

The Gala
Thursday, November 1, 2018

Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger of Border Grill in Los Angeles

The 4th Annual Smithsonian Food History Gala was a black tie evening to support the ongoing research, collecting, and programs of our American Food History Project. The evening featured:

  • The presentation of the 2018 Julia Child Award to Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger
  • Chef Bobby Flay as Master of Ceremonies
  • Former Editor-in-Chief of Bon Appétit magazine, Barbara Fairchild, as a featured speaker
  • Chef and Owner of Jardinière, Traci Des Jardins, as featured speakers
  • Chef and Owner of Blue Window, Kajsa Alger as the award presenter


The Roundtables
Friday, November 2, 2018

Through this wide-ranging discussion, we’ll explore the evolving concept of region. How has our understanding of regions shaped everything from our sense of self and community to economic activity and agricultural landscapes?

  • William Cronon, Ph.D., Professor, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Ronni Lundy, Author
  • Sean Sherman, Chef
  • Moderator Corby Kummer, Writer and editor, senior lecturer, Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition


How do communities, food entrepreneurs, and tourism-related industries sell the concept of a region to consumers, patrons, and visitors? Why is food such a compelling medium through which to brand a place, its people, and its way of life? What are the consequences of branding a region and how does it impact regional food cultures?

  • Jennifer Dueck, Ph.D., Stephen A. Jarislowsky Chair in the Modern History of the Middle East and North Africa, University of Manitoba
  • Jessica B. Harris, Ph.D., Culinary historian lecturer, consultant, and author
  • Lucy Long, Ph.D., Director, Center for Food and Culture
  • Amy B. Trubek, Ph.D., Professor, University of Vermont
  • Moderator Ashley Rose Young, Ph.D., Historian, American Food History Project, National Museum of American History


How have abundant natural resources and diverse cultural communities shaped the Pacific Northwest? How have people protected, claimed, exploited, and reclaimed the region’s food traditions? What are the local and global issues and ideas that have motivated people across the region to chart a different course for the future of food?

  • Gayle Goschie, Owner, Goschie Farms
  • Edouardo Jordan, Chef
  • Elizabeth Woody, Creative thinker and maker
  • Moderator Rebekah Denn, Journalist


What makes food “Southern” and who gets to decide? How are chefs and home cooks rethinking what it means to eat Southern food today? How is our understanding of this regional evolving to include diverse communities, cooking techniques, and culinary traditions?

  • Sandra Gutierrez, Cookbook author
  • Matthew Raiford, CheFarmer
  • Michael Twitty, Culinary historian and food writer
  • Sam Vong, Ph.D., Curator, National Museum of American History
  • Moderator Joe Yonan, Food and Dining editor, The Washington Post


The Festival
Saturday, November 3, 2018

Punjabi-Mexican DancersThe 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.

See below for the full lineup:

Live Cooking Demonstrations

  • Jason Flores, Oklahoma—Bringing the Outdoors In
  • Aarόn Sánchez, Mexican Regional Cuisine in the U.S.
  • Maneet Chauhan, Punjabi Traditions Meet Mexican Flavors in California
  • Edouardo Jordan with special host Francis Lam, Expressing the South in Seattle
  • Janice Marshall, Creating Food and Community on Smith Island, Chesapeake Bay
  • Sean Sherman, Indigenous Foodways of the Midwest

Talks & Hands-On Activities

  • Ellen King: Heritage Baking and Revitalizing the Local Grain Economy
  • The Kids Table
  • Spark!Lab Invention Activities
  • Common Threads! Station
  • Agriculture on the Move!
  • The Business of Chocolate: From Bean to Drink
  • Harvest for the Table: Wheat to Flour
  • Smithsonian Gardens activities and tours

Deep Dish Dialogues

  • Past, Present, and Place in Mexican Cuisine, featuring Chef Aarόn Sánchez in conversation with Smithsonian curator Stephen Velasquez
  • Meet the Women Who Won the 2018 Julia Child Award, featuring The Splendid Table’s Francis Lam in conversation with Chefs Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Millikenof Border Grill
  • Edna Lewis and the Taste of Place, featuring Sara B. Franklin, Michael Twitty, and Nina Williams-Mbengue in conversation with Smithsonian curator Joanne Hyppolite

Other Events

  • Baking with Regional Grains and Flours, a Grain Elevator presentation by Ellen King
  • SOUNDS OF FAITH: Punjabi-Mexican Dance featuring the Duniya Dance and Drum Company and Ensambles Ballet Folklórico de San Francisco


Last Call
Saturday, November 3, 2018

Order a California Common beer in D.C. or a New England IPA in Florida; the hops in either may hail from the Pacific Northwest. In today's America, beer styles, ingredients, and consumers travel coast to coast. In such a connected world, how much does the notion of "region" matter to American beer? As it turns out, it matters quite a lot. Last Call included an evening of historical conversation featuring:

  • Shyla Sheppard from Bow and Arrow Brewing Company, Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Jon Renthrope from Cajun Fire Brewing Company, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Deb Carey from New Glarus Brewing Company, New Glarus, Wisconsin
  • Marika Josephson from Scratch Brewing Company, Ava, Illinois

After the panel, guests could stick around for an interactive reception with tastings and activities to further explore historical tastes, modern craft brews, and more including:

  • Craft beer tastings with:
    • Bow and Arrow Brewing Company, featuring "Dream Mesa" Golden Sour with Navajo Tea and "Denim Tux" Blue Corn Lager
    • Cajun Fire Brewing Company, featuring Big Chief Crème Stout and Honey, brewed with clover honey
    • New Glarus Brewing Company, featuring Spotted Cow and Wisconsin Belgian Red, brewed with Door County cherries
    • Scratch Brewing Company, featuring Blackberry Lavender (sour ale brewed without hops) and Maple 
  • Rarely-seen collection objects out of storage
  • Themed snacks and a hearty plate of appetizers by the museum's chef, Stephen Kerschner
    • Butternut Squash and Black Bean Mole
    • Pizza Crostini
    • Cajun Crab and Crawfish Fritter
    • Mini Chocolate Stout Cupcake with Chocolate Buttercream