FOOD in the Garden - Waterways & Foodways: 1814-2014

August 4, 2014

National Museum of American History
Victory Garden at the corner of 12th Street and Constitution Ave. NW
September 4, 11, 18, 25; 6 – 8 p.m.

This year, the museum is commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Star-Spangled Banner, the flag and the anthem it inspired. FOOD in the Garden explores four maritime regions where the battles of the War of 1812 were waged and examines the connections between land and water, people and food.

These events take place in the Museum’s Victory Garden, created and maintained by Smithsonian Gardens staff who will be on hand at each event for special demonstrations.

The FOOD in the Garden series is made possible through the generous support of The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts, DuPont Pioneer and Wegmans. Each of the four events are detailed below.


TICKETS: $30 each or $100 for the series;

Each ticket includes two drinks, from Green Hat Gin, of Washington D.C. and Distillery Lane Ciderworks, of Jefferson, Md., and a plate of historically inspired, garden fresh food.


September 4: Human Impact: The Long Island Sound
In 1812, Long Island Sound was a crossroads of trade and agriculture. Seeds from around the globe were brought to its shores and ships brought goods produced in the region out to the world. The area continues to be renowned for the abundance of goods it produces. From its many farms and wineries to its thriving seafood industry, Long Island Sound has become synonymous with the production of fresh, tasty food and drink. But what has been the human impact on the region in the past 200 years?

Panelists: Cindy Lobel, Professor of History at Lehman College, Bronx, N.Y., and author of “Urban Appetites: Food and Culture in Nineteenth-Century New York”; Stephanie Villani, co-owner of Blue Moon Fish Co. of Mattituck, N.Y.; and Diana Whitsit of Terry Farms, N.Y. Also: Tastings with Westford Hills Distillers.


September 11: Cultural Connections: The Chesapeake
The Chesapeake Bay long supported an abundance of oysters, crabs, clams and many species of finfish. These productive waters along with the bay’s extensive network of navigable tributaries shaped the region’s foodways. Through trade, transportation and communication the natural bounties were brought together with new people, foods and flavors from around the globe, particularly Africa, the Caribbean, England and Europe. How did these cultural connections come together in the Chesapeake region and how did they find expression in gardens, landscapes and communities? What was the impact of these dynamic connections on the bay’s marine environment and resources?

Panelists: Mollie Ridout, Director of Horticulture for Historic Annapolis Foundation; Psyche Williams-Forson, Assoc. Professor of American Studies at University of Maryland, and Denise Breitburg, marine ecologist at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. Also: Beer tastings with Flying Dog Brewery, Dr. Ralph E. Eshelman as War of 1812 Commodore Joshua Barney; historic kitchen tools with Pat Reber; demonstrations from Mount Vernon Distillery and Three Little Pigs Charcuterie.


September 18: Exotics and Invasives - The Great Lakes
Once referred to as the Eden of the West, the Great Lakes region included hundreds of miles of untamed wilderness, rolling rivers and dense forest encompassing modern day New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. The region was home to the Chippewa, Ottawa, and Iroquois tribes, who valued the waterways as a means of life. How did the introductions of new plant and animal species affect the people who continue to live in the region? Today, this region is the cultural center of the Midwest with over 32 million people living along the lakes.

Panelists: Jodi Branton, National Museum of American Indian; Rick Finch, interim director of the Glenn Miller Birth Place Museum, Clarinda, Iowa and former site manager of Fort Meigs: Ohio’s War of 1812 Battleground; and Tim Rose, geologist at the National Museum of Natural History and cider maker with Distillery Lane Ciderworks. Also: Tastings with Jenna Hunsberger of Whisked!; demonstrations from Distillery Lane Ciderworks, Three Little Pigs Charcuterie and Smithsonian Gardens.


September 25: Marketplaces - New Orleans
New Orleans has always been a crossroads of people, ideas, and products. What was created out of this dynamic interplay of people and products at this global crossroads of New Orleans? Drawing from abundant natural marine resources, adding diverse foods from around the world through merchants and settlers, the NOLA population created one of the most unique and influential foodscapes in the world

Panelists: Ashley Young, historian of food markets and street food culture in the 19th century, Durham, N.C.; and David Guas, owner of Bayou Bakery in Arlington, Va. and host of the Travel Channel’s “American Grillers.” Also: Demonstrations by Three Little Pigs Charcuterie and Bayou Bakery; rice cultivation demonstration.


About the Museum

The National Museum of American History located at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W.; open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Admission is free. For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000.