What’s Cooking @ The National Museum of American History?

Opens Oct. 25 - Indefinite

“FOOD: Transforming the American Table” is an existing, permanent exhibition that explores the history of food and eating in the United States since 1950. A fall update will highlight new stories about changes in food itself as well as how we produce, prepare, and consume food and drink. In addition to many new objects going on display throughout the exhibition, several completely new sections will debut:

The Migrant’s Table: a look at the impact of immigration and migration on food and communities in the United States since 1960;

Brewing a Revolution: the history of brewing in the United States is a story of immigration, urban change, technological innovation, and evolving consumer tastes;

On a Diet: exploring the exponential rise of diets and dieting advice since 1950 and the simultaneous increase of modern health problems relating to food;

Old Vines, New Blood: Since the 1950s, migrant families from Mexico have played a vital role in the California wine industry and since the 1990s, several families have made the move from laborers to vineyard owners and winemakers.

Julia Child’s home kitchen, with its hundreds of tools, appliances, and furnishings will continue to serve as the opening story of the museum’s major exhibition on food history.




The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will host its fifth annual Food History Weekend Nov. 7–9, a multifaceted festival that includes four distinct events over three days featuring cooking demonstrations, conversations, activities and displays.

The weekend kicks off Nov. 7 with the Smithsonian Food History Gala, one of Washington, D.C.’s premier culinary events, during which chef José Andrés will be presented the Julia Child Award by Jacques Pépin on behalf of The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts. All past recipients of the award—Pépin, Rick Bayless, Danny Meyer, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger—will be in attendance to celebrate the event’s fifth anniversary. The black-tie event starts with a cocktail reception and is followed by a formal seated dinner. The menu will be designed by Chef José Andrés with the appropriate wine and beer pairings.

  • Chef Andrew Zimmern—Master of Ceremonies
  • Chef Ann Cashion—featured speaker
  • Cook, teacher and writer, Samin Nosrat—featured speaker



The Food History Festival is two free days of hands-on activities, live demonstrations, talks and stories with a special focus on migrant and refugee women and organizations. The weekend will explore how their food-related enterprises are helping create sustainable livelihoods and stronger communities. Chefs, local organizations, experts, museum curators, entrepreneurs and more will be on hand to spark conversation, lead activities and dig into food history with museum visitors of all ages. Programs include:



Friday, November 8
Warner Bros. Theater

  • Culinary Game Changers and the Julia Child Award
    10:30 a.m.
    A Conversation with Julia Child Awardees, 2015–2019: Jose Andrés, Jacques Pépin, Rick Bayless, Danny Meyer, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger (*Free tickets are required.)

    Since 2015, the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts has presented the Julia Child Award to individuals who have made a significant contribution to American culinary history and contemporary life. Carla Hall will lead a dynamic conversation to reflect on Child’s legacy.
  • Empowering Communities Through Food
    1:30 p.m.

    A Conversation with Women Migrants, Refugees and Entrepreneurs: Manal Kahi, Daniela Hurtado Lourdes Gonzalez and Emily Lerman

Saturday, November 9
Warner Bros. Theater

  • Saving Communities Through Food: A History, 10:30 a.m.
    A Conversation about Women and Food Activism in American History with Jessica B. Harris, Crystal Moten and Tambra Raye Stevenson



Friday, November 8, 2019, at 6:30 – 9 p.m.
Warner Bros. Theater and 1 Center

Brewing history curator Theresa McCulla will moderate a conversation among several key figures in the history of craft beer to reflect on beer’s past, present, and future. Participants: Fritz Maytag, former owner of Anchor Brewing Company; Ken Grossman, founder of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company; Charlie Papazian, past president of the Brewers Association and founder of the Association of Brewers; and Michael Lewis, professor emeritus at University of California, Davis.

Tickets are $45 for beer tastings, appetizers and a one-night-only display of brewing history Objects Out of Storage, including recent acquisitions.


Craft beer tastings with:

  • Anchor Brewing Company (San Francisco, California)
    • Anchor Steam Beer and Anchor Porter
  • Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (Milton, Delaware)
    • 60 Minute IPA and Slightly Mighty (low calorie IPA)
  • New Belgium Brewing Co. (Fort Collins, Colorado)
    • Fat Tire Amber Ale and Voodoo Ranger IPA
  • Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (Chico, California and Mills River, North Carolina)
    • Pale Ale and Celebration Fresh Hop IPA
  • Raleigh Brewing Company (Raleigh, North Carolina)
    • New Albion Ale and Hell Yes Ma’am Belgian Golden Ale



Friday, November 8
Coulter Plaza, 1 West

  • Eritrean Food En Route with Chef Phil Vang and Chef Yebralem, Foodhini Inc.; Noon
  • In the Kitchen with Chef Jacques Pépin (*Free tickets are required.) ; 1 p.m.
  • Persian Cuisine in the U.S. with Chef Zohreh Mohagheghfar, graduate of Emma’s Torch; 3 p.m.

Saturday, November 9
Coulter Plaza, 1 W

  • Cooking Healthy with Chef Ellie Krieger; 10:30 a.m.
  • Mera Kitchen Collective: A Taste of the Baltimore Farmers’ Market with Chef Iman, Chef Mona and Chef Aisha AlFadhalah; Noon
  • Vietnamese Cuisine in Lincoln, Nebraska with Chefs Thuy and Khanh Nguyen; 1 p.m.
  • Behind-the-Scenes at Bad Saint with Chef Genevieve Villamora; 2 p.m.
  • Salvadorian Cuisine in the District with Chef Dora Escobar, La Chiquita; 3 p.m.


Financial and In-kind Support

Major support for Smithsonian Food History Weekend is provided by the Brewers Association, John Deere, The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts, the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative, and Wegmans. Special thanks to Melissa’s Produce Company.

The weekend's Cooking Up History demonstrations are generously supported by Wegmans and Sur La Table.

The Smithsonian Food History Gala is made possible with the generous support of the Winiarski Family Foundation; The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts; Clark Construction Group, LLC; Pamela Gelsomini—Dishofftheblock.com; Al and Angela Diaz; ENSE Group; Johanna Mendelson Forman, creator of Conflict Cuisine; Don Kollmorgen and Louise Woerner; New Belgium Brewing Company; Potomac Construction Services; ThinkFoodGroup; Wegmans; Bon Appétit Management Company; Cuisine Solutions; and John Deere.

The Last Call is generously supported by the Brewers Association, with additional support from Cabot Creamery Co-operative.

Leadership support for “FOOD: Transforming the American Table” is made possible by Warren and Barbara Winiarski (Winiarski Family Foundation), Brewers Association, The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts, Land O’Lakes Foundation, 2018 Food History Gala Supporters and History Channel.

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Valeska Hilbig