Cooking Up History

Museum host and guest chef at the demonstration kitchen

Turn up the heat on food history at this monthly free cooking demonstration and history program

About | Upcoming Schedule | Past Demos and Recipes Sponsors


ABOUT

Food history sizzles on stage at the National Museum of American History
Once a month, we turn up the heat on food history at the museum’s demonstration kitchen on the Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza. Cooking Up History showcases a guest chef and our resident food historian, Dr. Ashley Rose Young, preparing a recipe and talking about the history and traditions behind its ingredients, culinary techniques, and enjoyment. While we are not permitted to serve food from the stage, you can try a dish inspired by the demonstration in the museum’s café, Eat at America’s Table.
In 2019, our cooking demos will focus mainly on the refresh of our exhibition FOOD: Transforming the American Table. They will highlight objects and stories in the exhibition and may include a sneak peek at the new materials we’ll be adding to FOOD. During these demos, we will explore questions about identity, tradition, and innovation throughout American history:

  • How did our supermarkets come to have fresh tomatoes all year long?
  • Where does dinner come from for you—the oven, the microwave, the drive-through?
  • How has the advertising and marketing of food products influenced the way we eat?
  • How did food traditions brought to our shores—tortillas, injera, sushi, dahl, lasagna—become part of the American diet?

UPCOMING DEMOS |  BACK TO TOP 


UPCOMING DEMO SCHEDULE

Friday, April 12: Ethiopian Culinary Cultures in Washington, D.C.
Guest Chef: Sileshi Alifom
Demonstration at 1:00 p.m. in the Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, 1 West

This cooking demonstration will explore the social and cultural dimensions of Ethiopian cuisine in the District of Columbia. Sileshi Alifom, owner of DAS Ethiopian Restaurant, and his staff, will discuss their efforts to create a restaurant environment that welcomes a diverse group of eaters and how they seek to introduce them to Ethiopian culture through food. The demo will be accompanied by an Ethiopian coffee ceremony, a social ritual with historic roots. This program connects to a new section of the FOOD exhibition that highlights the entrepreneurial efforts and influences of migrant entrepreneurs on America’s ever-changing food scene.

 

Friday, May 10: Regional Chinese Cooking Along the Transcontinental Railroad
Guest Chef: Martin Yan
Demonstration at 1:00 p.m. in the Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, 1 West

In May and June we will turn our attention to the museum’s American Enterprise exhibition and its adjacent feature on the 150th anniversary of the transcontinental railroad. Guest chef Martin Yan will explore the food cultures and lasting culinary influences of Chinese immigrants living and working in the U.S. at the turn of the twentieth century while building the transcontinental railroad. During the demonstration, Chef Yan will speak about regional food traditions of Chinese workers from the Guangdong Province and how their food culture (popularly known as "Cantonese") forever changed American dining.

 

Friday, June 28: The Harvey Girls & Meals for Rail Passengers
Guest Chef: Sarah Lohman
Demonstration at 1:00 p.m. in the Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, 1 West

Taking another look at how railroads transformed travel and food production in the American West, our guest chef Sarah Lohman will explore the history of the Harvey Girls Working as hostesses at restaurants along the rail lines in the Southwest. Chef Lohman will discuss how they represented and contributed to important shifts in the region’s economic and cultural landscape. Their complex story was emblazoned in the American imagination when Judy Garland starred in The Harvey Girls (1946), bringing to life the bustling tourism industry in New Mexico. Join us as we dig into the food history behind this film, while also discussing broader changes in American transportation and tourism history. After the demonstration, Lohman will sign copies of her book, Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine. This program is a collaboration with the museum’s American Enterprise exhibition.

 

Saturday, July 13: Priya Krishna’s "Indian-ish" Recipes
Guest Chef: Priya Krishna
Demonstration at 1:00 p.m. in the Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, 1 West

Guest chef Priya Kirshna will share stories and recipes from her Indian American childhood, focusing on how her mother’s improvisational cooking represents the ingenuity of migrant home cooks in America. Chef Krishna’s mother came to the United States from New Delhi and maintained strong sensory memories of the foods from her homeland. Once in America, she attempted to recreate those dishes, but did not have easy access to their key ingredients. Like many new migrants, she improvised. Chef Krishna chronicles her mother’s inventive cooking in her new cookbook: Indian-ish: Recipes and Antics from a Modern American Family and will be signing copies of her book after the demonstration.

 

Friday, August 9: In the Kitchen with Julia and Paul Child
Guest Chef: Lynne Just, Sur La Table
Demonstration at 1:00 p.m. in the Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, 1 West

Each year the museum marks Julia Child’s August 15 birthday with a themed cooking demonstration. We will welcome guest chef Lynne Just of Sur La Table to explore a much-beloved section of the FOOD exhibition that houses Julia’s Cambridge, Massachusetts kitchen. We will highlight Julia and Paul’s shared love of food and Paul’s role in encouraging and supporting Julia as she pursued her culinary career. Chef Just will dive into the lively and supportive relationship between Julia and Paul, providing an intimate portrayal of their home life in America and abroad.

 

Friday, September 20: The Mexican Food Revolution
Guest Chef: Carlos Salgado
Demonstration at 1:00 p.m. in the Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, 1 West

This demo relates to a part of the FOOD exhibition, "The Mexican Food Revolution," that explores the influence of Mexican and Mexican American food entrepreneurs on the culinary culture of the U.S. from 1950 to the present. Guest Chef Carlos Salgado will share his culinary journey and the way he expresses the "traditions transplanted into Southern California's multicultural soils" in his celebrated restaurant, Taco María. He will prepare recipes that explore the past and present of Mexican regional food cultures in the U.S.

 

Saturday, October 12: Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook
Guest Chef: Mollie Katzen
Demonstration at 1:00 p.m. in the Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, 1 West

Our guest chef, Mollie Katzen, is the author of The Moosewood Cookbook (1974), one of the best-selling cookbooks of all time and an integral piece of work on vegetarianism, seasonal cooking, and conscious eating. A first edition of Katzen’s cookbook is on display in a section of the FOOD exhibition that explores how alternative communities produced new food-distribution systems in the 1960s and 1970s. Join us as we discuss this rich culinary history with an innovator of that movement.

 

November 2019

In November, we will host several cooking demonstrations during the fifth annual Smithsonian Food History Weekend. Check back in with us in the early Fall for a full line up of chefs.

 

Saturday, December 7: Holiday Treats and Traditions at the White House
Guest Chef: TBD
Demonstration at 1:00 p.m. in the Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, 1 West

As the year ends, we will explore the holiday foods of the White House during the Smithsonian Holiday Festival. Our guest chef will discuss the culinary culture of American presidents, highlighting the culinary innovation behind intimate family meals and large state dinners.

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PAST DEMOS AND RECIPES

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2019

Friday, March 15: Carla Hall’s Soul Food
Guest Chef: Carla Hall
Demonstration at 1:00 p.m. in the Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, 1 West

Join guest chef Carla Hall as she explores the historic connections between African American foodways and the flavors and cooking techniques of West Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America. During the demonstration, Hall will prepare several dishes from her cookbook, Carla Hall’s Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration, that illuminate these culinary connections including: cassava with coconut milk and lime, Ghanaian peanut beef and tomato stew, and hot water cornbread. After the demonstration, Hall will sign copies of Carla Hall’s Soul Food.

Recipes:

 

Friday, February 15: Artisan Chocolate and the "Good Food Movement"
Guest Chef: Drew Faulkner
Demonstration at 1:00 p.m. in the Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, 1 West

February’s program will feature the roots of the Good Food Movement in 1960s and 1970s California and explore the rise of artisan chocolate making as part of that movement, as well as its current robust expression around the country. Guest chef Drew Faulkner and Smithsonian food historian Ashley Rose Young will discuss this chapter in American culinary history while preparing chocolate desserts that reflect the ethos of the Good Food Movement.

Recipes:

2018

Saturday, December 1: Smithsonian Holiday Festival

Wrapping up the year and our culinary journey, the team will take a look at regions in the middle of the country, exploring foods and flavors from the Midwest with two demonstrations at the Smithsonian Holiday Festival.
 

Exploring the Midwest
Guest chef: Anne Byrn

Demonstration at 1:00 p.m. in the Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, 1 West

Anne Byrn, author of American Cake, has a new cookbook that is timely for your holiday sweet tooth: American Cookie. Continuing our annual theme of regional foodways in America, Anne will prepare several sweet regional favorites from the Midwest.

After the demo, Anne will sign copies of her book, American Cookie. Books will be available for purchase on site.

Recipe:

Cooking Up History for Kids
Guest chef: Tanya Steel

Demonstration at 2:00 p.m. in the Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, 1 West

Dive taste buds first into this child-friendly cooking demonstration program with celebrity cook and author, Tanya Steel. During the program, Tanya will tell us about historically significant recipes from her new book: Food Fight! A Mouthwatering History of Who Ate What and Why Through the Ages.

After the demo, Tanya will sign copies of her book, Food Fight! Books will be available for purchase on site.

Recipes:

 

Saturday, November 3: Smithsonian Food History Weekend
Guest Chefs: to be announced in August!

The fourth annual Food History Weekend Festival will feature a full day of free activities for all visitors, including hands-on learning, garden tours, stories, discussions and cooking demonstrations that celebrate American regions remembered, revived and reimagined.

 

Saturday, October 6: Exploring Mexican Regional Cooking
Guest Chef: Zarela Martínez

Demonstration at 1:00 p.m. in the Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, 1 West

Zarela Martínez helped introduce Mexican regional cooking to American audiences, popularizing new flavors and cooking techniques from regions like Sonora and Oaxaca. In 1987, Chef Martínez opened Zarela, a fine dining Mexican restaurant in New York City, that inspired her five cookbooks including Food from my Heart: Cuisines of Mexico Remembered and Reimagined. During this program, Martínez will make salpicon de huachinango (red snapper hash). This is a multigenerational dish prepared in unique ways by Martínez, her mother Aida Gabilondo who wrote Mexican Family Cooking, and her son Chef Aarón Sanchez of the Food Network. Martínez and our resident Smithsonian food historian Ashley Rose Young will discuss how the ideas of memory, family, and community are expressed and shared through regional Mexican foodways. This cooking demonstration, in partnership with the Smithsonian Latino Center and the Mexican Cultural Institute, is part of Making History, Sharing Culture 2018 Hispanic Heritage Month Family Festival.

Recipe:

 

Friday, August 17: Julia Child's Legacy
Guest Chef: Lynne Just, Sur La Table

Demonstration at 1:00 p.m. in the Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, 1 West

In an annual favorite, the museum will celebrate Julia Child’s birthday and legacy with Sur La Table guest chef Lynne Just cooking up dishes from a region that was profoundly important to Julia: Provence. Chef Just and our resident food historian Ashley Rose Young will explore the regional flavors and culinary traditions of southeastern France through two iconic dishes: bouillabaisse and lavender crème brûlée. As Julia would say, “Bon Appétit!”

Recipes:

 

Friday, July 13: Exploring the Northeast
Guest Chef: Brian Patterson

Demonstration at 1:00 p.m. in the Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, 1 West

It’s July and baseball fans are flocking to stadiums to enjoy “America’s favorite pastime.” Today, the major league baseball experience is marked by jubilant organ music, t-shirt cannons, fireworks and, of course, food. These days, baseball parks are serving up more than just peanuts, popcorn, and hotdogs. Food vendors are featuring regional favorites: lobster rolls and baked beans at Fenway Park in Boston, kielbasa and pierogis at PNC stadium in Pittsburgh, sushi rolls and sashimi at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Join guest chef Brian Patterson and our resident Smithsonian food historian Ashley Rose Young as they talk about regional foodways of baseball, and those of the Northeast in particular. “Let’s play ball!”

Recipes:

 

Friday, June 8: Exploring the South
Guest Chef: Edward Lee

Demonstration at 1:00 p.m. in the Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, 1 West
Book signing at 2:00 p.m.

As summer heats up, we’re focusing our attention on a hot topic: the history, evolution, and politics of Southern cuisine. Special guest, Chef Edward Lee, will prepare two mouth-watering dishes that reflect his experiences as a Korean-American chef working in the U.S. South: “dirty” fried chicken and hotteok (Korean doughnuts). Through these recipes, Chef Lee will talk about the power of place in creating regional foodways and regional identities with our resident Smithsonian food historian Ashley Rose Young.

After the demo, Chef Lee will sign copies of his book, Buttermilk Graffiti: A Chef's Journey to Discover America's New Melting-Pot Cuisine. Books will be available for purchase on site.

Recipes:

 

Friday, May 4: Asian Pacific American Foodways
Guest Chef: Patricia Tanumihardja

Demonstration at 1:00 p.m. in the Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, 1 West
Book signing at 2:00 p.m.

To mark Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, we will be joined by chef and cookbook author Patricia Tanumihardja. Born in Indonesia, raised in Singapore, and now living in Virginia, Chef Tanumihardja's cooking marries regional southeast Asian cuisine with local ingredients and a farm-to-table ethos. During the demo, Chef Tanumihardja will prepare dishes inspired by her family and research on southeast Asian regional foodways including orak arik, nasi ulam, and pickles. After the demo, Chef Tanumihadja will sign copies of her book, Farm to Table Asian Secrets: Vegan & Vegetarian Full-Flavored Recipes for Every Season. Books will be available for purchase on site.

Recipes:

 

Friday, April 6: Exploring the Chesapeake Region
Guest Chef: Lynne Just, Sur La Table

In 2018 we’re focusing on the power of place and the histories of regional food traditions. For April’s Cooking Up History, we’re exploring the foodways of the Chesapeake, a region shaped by global waterborne trade, rich farmland and seafood resources, a temperate climate, and migrations of people over centuries. Chef Lynne Just of Sur La Table will demonstrate two regional specialties, starting with Southern Maryland stuffed ham—a recipe for ham and spicy greens that has long been a part of holiday cooking in rural St. Mary’s County. We’ll also head up the bay to Baltimore for the cake that might have been served on holiday tables among the city’s affluent residents: the fanciful Lord Baltimore cake, which features coconut, dried fruit, and nuts. Join Chef Just and Smithsonian food historian Ashley Rose Young as we learn about Chesapeake cuisine and the micro-regions that contribute to this region’s vibrant food culture.

Recipes:

 

Saturday, March 17: Alon Shaya: An Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel
Guest Chef: Alon Shaya

2018 marks the tricentennial of the founding of New Orleans and this program features one of the city’s most celebrated chefs, Alon Shaya. With his innovative interpretation of modern Israeli cuisine, Chef Alon has brought dishes ranging from Labneh to Schnitzel not only to the forefront of New Orleans’ Creole food scene, but also to the nation’s. During this program, Chef Alon will prepare several dishes from his new cookbook, SHAYA: An Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel, while speaking to food historian Ashley Rose Young about his professional and personal experiences with food. Books will be available for purchase at the program and after the demonstration Chef Alon will sign copies of his book.

Recipes: 

 

Saturday, February 10: Carnival and Haitian Food Traditions
Guest chef: Jouvens Jean

If it’s February, it must be time for Carnival! We explored the cuisine of Carnival and how communities in the Caribbean and U.S. celebrate this holiday through food. The museum partnered with the Embassy of the Republic of Haiti in Washington, D.C. and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture to bring this history to life. Food historian Ashley Rose Young and curator Joanne Hyppolite spoke with celebrity Haitian Chef Jouvens Jean about Haitian Carnival traditions while he prepares several dishes that highlight his personal history and wide-ranging culinary career—from winning Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen Season 6 to writing his own cookbook, Tap Tap Diaries

Recipes:

 

Friday, January 5: Forgotten Foods: Finding and Testing Recipes from our Archives
Guest chef: Ashley Rose Young

Have you ever stepped back from a meal and thought about the history and tradition behind it? How did cooking techniques and even the taste and texture of ingredients like flour and butter change since the colonial and antebellum periods? Join us as our food historian, Ashley Rose Young, prepares a dish from the archives at the National Museum of American History. We’ll discuss the challenges of preparing historic recipes in modern kitchens, while also providing inspiration to try out historic recipes on your own to learn about the past.

Recipe:

2017

Saturday, December 2: Holiday Traditions with the Smithsonian Folklife Festival
Guest chef: Jennifer Selman

Celebrate the holidays and the 50th Anniversary of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival with a trip to the Caribbean. Jennifer Selman, chef/owner of Crown Bakery in Washington, DC, will shatter any negative notions you have about fruitcake with her Trinidadian version. She will also brew up the healthful and tangy holiday drink, sorrel. Jennifer will be joined by long-time Folklife Festival researcher and presenter Camila Bryce-LaPorte, who is also the last person in her family to continue her own Caribbean and Panamanian fruitcake traditions. Learn how the Caribbean community of Washington, DC builds community through food and fellowship, especially during the holidays.

Recipes:

 

Saturday, November 18: Cod and New England Coastal Cuisine
Guest chef: Ris Lacoste

In November, Massachusetts is remembered for Thanksgiving feasts, but what were New Englanders fishing for and eating the rest of the year? Codfishing drove the regional economy, while salt cod exports influenced cuisine both around the world and at New England tables. Join us as Ris Lacoste, DC chef and a native of New Bedford, MA, cooks with this iconic fish. We’ll also share new research about one man’s history on the working waterfront in 18th century Massachusetts from the museum’s exhibit Within These Walls

Recipes:

 

Saturday, September 16: The New Southern-Latino Table
Guest chef: Sandra Gutierrez

What is the “Nuevo South”? Why does it matter? And what does it taste like? On September 16th, we welcomed chef and author Sandra Gutiérrez. Sandra was born in Philadelphia, to Guatemalan parents, and raised in Guatemala. She moved to North Carolina from Canada in 1985. By 1996, she discovered that as more Latinos moved to the South, a new food pathway emerged. At this cooking demonstration, we discussed migration, activism, and the culinary movements in the Nuevo South. This program was co-sponsored with the National Museum of African American History and Culture, with funding provided by the Latino Initiatives Pool, a federal pool administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center.

Recipes:

 

Friday, August 11: Julia Child's Kitchen Classroom
Guest chef: Lynne Just, Sur La Table

Julia Child was a great cooking teacher and she was also an eager culinary student long after earning her diploma from Le Cordon Bleu. To honor the week of Julia’s 105th birthday, we welcomed Sur La Table chef Lynne Just to prepare a few dishes from Julia’s collaborations with master chefs in the 1990s. As we cooked, we explored how Julia demonstrated her lifelong love of learning as she welcomed chefs into her home kitchen to collaborate on three television series. These recipes, and our conversation, celebrated Julia’s bountiful curiosity about ingredients, techniques, and recipes outside of French cuisine, and her enthusiastic promotion of other talented chefs as she encouraged her viewers and cookbook audiences to never stop learning.

Recipes:

 

Friday, July 21: Cajun and Creole Food Traditions
Guest chef: David Guas

What is the history behind Cajun and Creole cuisines, and how are they different? On July 21, we welcomed Louisiana native chef David Guas of Arlington’s Bayou Bakery, and we cooked our way through the origins of the Louisiana Territories to explore how these two distinctive culinary traditions emerged from a commingling of French, French-Acadian, and Spanish settlers, native peoples, migrants from the Caribbean, and enslaved Africans, and how the region’s signature dishes represent its rich history. 

Recipes:

 

Friday, June 30: The Chinese Kitchen Garden in America
Guest: Wendy Kiang-Spray

How do three generations of a family’s Chinese gardening traditions take root in America? On June 30 we welcomed guest Wendy Kiang-Spray, author of The Chinese Kitchen Garden, whose parents and grandparents grew food in their own traditional Chinese kitchen garden in Shandong and Hong Kong, using techniques that Wendy incorporated into her own Maryland garden, As we prepared a few dishes from Wendy’s book, we explored the many ways Chinese vegetables, herbs, and spices have held significance and symbolic meaning, and how the process of planting food for one’s family is key to preserving a sense of home and tradition wherever you live. 

Recipes:

 

Friday, April 28: The Food of Jazz
Guest chef: Rock Harper

What is the relationship between food, jazz, and American history? In the late 19th and early 20th century, jazz spread into American life, blending many influences and finding distinct forms in each community it was played, from New Orleans to Harlem to Kansas City. We will be joined by guest chef Rock Harper, who will prepare a few dishes from America’s leading jazz communities, as we explore how each city produced unique culinary creations to feed both musicians and their audiences, and discuss how the foods that fed jazz are as improvisational, innovative, and rooted in tradition as the music itself.

Recipes:

 

Saturday, March 18: The Women Behind America’s First Cookbooks
Guest chef: Angie Lee, Sur La Table

What was the first cookbook written by an American for Americans, and how did the recipes differ from other volumes at the time? Prior to 1796, American home cooks used English cookery books, if they used books at all, to prepare meals. But with Amelia Simmons’ 1796 American Cookery, we have the first formal document exploring “American cuisine,” incorporating ingredients native to the American landscape such as cornmeal, pumpkins, maple syrup, and various vegetables, nuts, and fruits. We are joined by chef Angie Lee of Sur La Table, who will prepare a few recipes from American cookbook authors such as Simmons, Mary Randolph, Eliza Leslie, and Lydia Child, as we consider the ingredients, tools, and cooking techniques in this early era, and discuss how these authors had such a profound influence on American culinary history.

Recipes:

 

Saturday, February 25: Food and the Great Migration
Guest chef: Jerome Grant, National Museum of African American History & Culture

What impact did the Great Migration have on American foodways? From 1915 to 1960, more than five million African-Americans migrated from the deep South to the northern and western United States in search of new opportunities for work and community. We were joined by guest chef Jerome Grant from the National Museum of African American History and Culture who prepared a few dishes that reflect the culinary changes that emerged from that migration and help us consider how African-Americans preserved some Southern roots as “soul food” tradition while adapting and creating new dishes to their neighborhoods.

Recipes:

 

Saturday, January 14: Changing Ideas of Healthy Eating in 19th-century America
Guest chef: Brian Patterson, L'Academie de Cuisine

Have you resolved to eat healthier in 2017? You’re not alone, but how do you define “healthy” when it comes to food? On January 14 we’ll look to history for how our ideas about diet and nutrition have changed over time. While Chef Brian prepares some recipes from 19th century American cookbooks, we’ll explore the era of Sylvester Graham, Ellen White, and other dietary reformers, whose ideas about whole grains and vegetarianism influenced the foods many Americans put on the table, at least for a time! 

Recipes:

2016

Saturday, October 15: The Great American Pumpkin
Guest chef: Brian Patterson, L'Academie de Cuisine

How did pumpkin become a signature food of the fall, and of early American cuisine? Chef Brian took us beyond the jack-o-lantern to help us better understand the historical, agricultural, and culinary story of this autumnal fruit, as we explored how the pumpkin came to have such an important symbolic role in American life.

Recipes:

 

Saturday, September 17th: Cuban-American Food Traditions
Guest chef: Ana Sofia Peláez

What are the signature ingredients, flavors, and stories of Cuban-American cooking? For this program, we welcomed guest chef Ana Sofia Peláez, author of The Cuban Table, who first set out to explore Cuban cuisine as a way of tracing the stories and recipes of her grandparents’ generation. As we prepared a few dishes from Ana’s new book, we explored the complex social, political, and cultural history that has led to Cuba’s distinctive cuisine, and how the dishes prepared by Cubans and Cuban-Americans honor the country’s rich traditions. 

Recipes:

 

Friday, August 12: Julia Child in the 1970s
Guest chef: Lynne Just, Sur La Table

What recipes, ingredients, and culinary traditions was Julia Child exploring after she finished the second volume of Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 1970? We celebrated what would have been Julia Child’s 104th birthday with Sur La Table chef Lynne Just and prepared a few dishes from Julia’s collection of recipes in the 1970s. While we considered the aftermath of Mastering’s success and of Julia’s growing television career, we also considered how Julia’s perspective on food was changing in sync with other major shifts in American history and culinary culture.

Recipes:

 

Friday, July 8: Basque Food in America 
Guest chef: Brian Patterson, L'Academie de Cuisine

What happens when traditional dishes from the Basque lands of Europe are brought to the American West through migration?  To join in the celebration of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, we welcomed L’Academie de Cuisine chef Brian Patterson to help us explore Basque history and culture through food. As we cooked a few dishes from Basque cuisine in America that reflect the baserria (farmstead) tradition of Basque homelands in the mountainous regions  of France and Spain, we discussed how Basque immigrants to the United States influenced the ranching, agricultural, and culinary traditions of the West.

Recipes:

 

Friday, June 17: Political Barbecues
Guest chef: Albert Lukas, Restaurant Associates

What role does barbecue play a role in America’s political campaign history? Restaurant Associates chef Albert Lukas explored the significance of outdoor cookouts in shaping America’s political season with us on June 17. We cooked up a platter of Georgia-style pork barbecue and discussed everything from the science of smoking to the different types of spices, meats, and wood used. While we cooked, we explored both the regional traditions of barbecue and how they evolved, the details of who hosted, attended, and stoked the fires of political gatherings from the 18th century to the present, and how a politician’s awareness (or lack thereof) of culinary customs could make or break their candidacy.

Recipes:

 

Friday, May 20th: Lincoln in the Kitchen

What can the favorite foods of President Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln tell us about their differences in upbringing and their time in the White House? We journeyed to Lincoln’s childhood table on a farm in frontier-era Indiana, and to Mary Todd’s table on her family’s plantation in Lexington, Kentucky, to explore the different ingredients, tools, and cooking techniques that shaped their appetites in early life, and how those food traditions shifted when they lived in the White House during the Civil War.

Recipes:

 

Friday, May 6th: The American Story of Sushi
Guest chef: Kevin Lee, Wegmans

How did sushi go from a Japanese delicacy to an American favorite? As part of our Asian Pacific American Heritage Month celebration, we welcomed Wegmans Chef Kevin Lee, who helped us explore the history of sushi in America through a hands-on sushi demonstration. We examined the significance of the sushi technique and prized ingredients—and the long traditions behind preparation the right fish, rice, and vegetables for each roll—and considered how the story of sushi in America is as much about Asian cultural heritage as it is about culinary trends, traditions, and adaptations for the American palate.

Recipes:

 

Friday, April 8: The Mexican-American Table
Guest chef: Amelia Morán Ceja

For this program, we welcomed Amelia Morán Ceja, the president of Ceja Vineyards from Napa, California. Amelia shared with us the signature flavors and styles of cooking that she first learned from her grandmother in Jalisco, Mexico, including the art of making tortillas and salsa from scratch. As we cooked, we learned more about Amelia’s experiences as the daughter of vineyard workers in Napa, how she adjusted to American life, and how she has continued to honor her heritage with her family-run winery in the heart of the Carneros wine district.

Recipes:

 

Saturday, March 12: African-American Culinary Heritage and Museum Day Live!
Guest chefs: Alice Randall & Caroline Randall Williams

How do family culinary traditions reflect broader changes in African-American history? As part of our Museum Day Live! Programming, we welcomed Alice Randall and her daughter Caroline Randall Williams, who in their new book Soul Food Love celebrate the soul food traditions passed down over four generations of women in their familyAs Alice and Caroline cooked, they discussed how the ingredients and styles of cooking used can teach us about food’s fundamental role in history, from slavery to the Harlem Renaissance, from the Civil Rights Movement to the present day.

Recipes:

 

Saturday, February 20: Lincoln in the Kitchen
Guest chef: Angie Lee, Sur La Table

What can his favorite foods tell us about President Abraham Lincoln? Chef Angie brought us to Lincoln’s table with a few dishes from across his childhood on a farm in frontier-era Illinois and his political life from Springfield to the White House. As Chef Angie cooked up some classic mid-19th century fare, we considered the complex relationship Lincoln had to food (which he often cooked himself), and how the foods he ate during his presidency reflected his thoughts on our national cuisine in the Civil War era.\

Recipes:

 

Saturday, January 16: Foods of the Civil Rights Movement
Guest chef: Lindsay Leopold, Sur La Table

What were the foods that nourished the Civil Rights Movement? To kick off our 2016 series of cooking conversations, Chef Lindsay took us through some of the signature soul food creations that fed the organizers of the sit-ins, boycotts, and marches of the African-American Civil Rights Movement from 1958 to 1968. As Chef showed us the ways in which Southern flavor is developed—often with made-by-hand, slow-and-low cooking—we explored the history behind these culinary traditions, the importance of these foods to the students, churches, and civil rights organizations of the period, and the objects in our collection that help to tell this story.

2015

December 18: Food Celebrations
With Restaurant Associates Chef William Bednar

Where do food traditions of the Christmas season come from? For our final Food Fridays of 2015, Chef Bednar helped us prepare a fanciful Christmas dessert from Julia Child’s repertoire—the Bûche de Noël, or Yule log. As our Chef walked us through the process for making this rolled, frosted, and elaborately decorated sponge cake, we considered various sources of Christmas traditions in America, and the special role that sugar and sweet treats have historically played in our holiday celebrations.

Recipes:

 

December 11: Food Celebrations
With Sur La Table Chef Joel Gamoran

How do our celebrations of Hanukkah today reflect the history of Jewish-Americans? While Chef Joel took us through some signature dishes of the Jewish winter holiday, we explored the shifting meaning of the Hanukkah story and holiday in the United States, and discovered how, post-Civil War, a relatively minor holiday became a major moment of celebration on the Jewish-American calendar.

Recipes:

 

December 4: Food Celebrations
With L’Academie de Cuisine Chef Sandy Patterson

How do we use food to help usher in a new year? Chef Sandy showed us how to prepare a traditional New Year’s Day dish of the American South—hoppin’ John. We explored the history of this Southern culinary treasure and touched on how different foods have become important symbols and elements of New Years’ celebrations around the country.

Recipes:

 

November 20: Thanksgiving Celebrations and Native American Heritage
With L’Academie de Cuisine Chef Brian Patterson and Chef Jerome Grant of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian

How did the first Thanksgiving depend on Native American foodways? Chef Brian and Chef Jerome Grant of the National Museum of the American Indian joined us to explore the rich fishing and agricultural traditions of the Wampanoag tribe, and examine ways in which their distinctive cooking techniques, ingredients and flavors sustained the Pilgrims in the face of near starvation, and shaped what we think of as the Thanksgiving table.

Recipe:

 

November 13: Thanksgiving Celebrations and Native American Heritage
With Sur La Table Chef Jordan Carfagno

What was served at the first Thanksgiving—and why does today’s Thanksgiving table look so different? Chef Jordan prepared some foods that reflect the original 1621 Thanksgiving menu, as we reflected on the Pilgrim and American Indian traditions of both growing and cooking, the regional foods of the early American landscape, and how a three-day harvest celebration developed into the nation’s most food-centric holiday tradition.

Recipes:

 

November 6: Thanksgiving Celebrations and Native American Heritage
With Wegmans Chef Ernesto Cadima and Nutritionist Krystal Register

What would have been on the table at George Washington’s Mount Vernon? Ernesto and Krystal took us back to 1789 and George Washington’s Thanksgiving proclamation with a dish pulled right from his own kitchen, as we reflected on the colonial era’s farming and cooking styles, and explored some of Washington’s innovative practices in growing and preparing food.

Recipes:

 

October 30: Harvest Season in America
With Restaurant Associates Chef Albert Lukas

How are oysters a seasonal food, and how has our relationship with this curious bivalve changed over time? We shucked our way through the story of both wild and farmed oysters, and harvesting traditions and technologies, as Chef Albert Lukas prepared a dish that recalls the oyster’s valuable place in American cuisine.

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October 16: Harvest Season in America
With Sur La Table Chef Lynne Just

How did pumpkin become a signature food of the fall? Chef Lynne took us beyond the jack-o-lantern to help us better understand the historical, agricultural, and culinary story of this autumnal fruit, as we explored how the pumpkin came to have such an important symbolic role in American culture.

Recipes:

 

October 9: Harvest Season in America
With Wegmans Chef Ernesto Cadima and Nutritionist Krystal Register

How do two of our autumnal favorites—apples and squash—transform our seasonal eating habits? Ernesto and Krystal showed us the benefits of roasting up these delicious ingredients and showed us some different seasonal varieties of apples and squash, as we discussed their regional, culinary, and historical significance in the American landscape.

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October 2: Harvest Season in America
With L'Academie de Cuisine Chef Brian Patterson

How do fresh ingredients from a farm’s harvest season affect the chef’s table? Chef Brian and farmer Greg Glenn of Rocklands Farm in Poolesville, MD discussed what’s coming off the farm in October, how Greg’s approach to “holistic agriculture” applies to raising both meat and produce, and how cooking with farm-fresh ingredients at the peak of seasonality reflects historical changes in our food system.

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September 25: Hispanic-Heritage Month
With L'Academie de Cuisine Chef Brian Patterson and Sous Chef Angie Rosado

How is maize (known today as corn) central to the rituals and traditions of Hispanic and American life? Chef Brian and Sous Chef Angie explored the impact of this New World crop through a batch of homemade sorullos (corn fritters), and discussed the role corn has played as the edible foundation of North and South American cuisine, and the role corn has played in food culture.

Recipe:

 

September 18: Hispanic-Heritage Month
With Sur La Table Chef Anna Norman

What are the culinary connections between South America and Spain? Sur La Table Chef Anna Norman showed us how sweet and spicy flavors from the European Spanish culinary tradition have become part of the Latin and South American culinary landscape.

Recipes:

 

September 11: Hispanic-Heritage Month
With Wegmans Chef Ernesto Cadima

What foods and styles of cooking have shaped America’s love of Mexican cuisine? Wegmans Chef Ernesto Cadima prepared three fresh and healthful recipes reflecting different parts of the Mexican-American landscape, using distinctive tools, culinary techniques and signature ingredients that show the country’s extraordinary range of flavors.

Recipes:

 

September 4: Hispanic-Heritage Month
With Restaurant Associates Chef Alex Strong

To kick off our celebration of Hispanic Heritage month, Chef Alex Strong shared some of her favorite Puerto Rican recipes with us, both from her childhood and her time growing up in the Bronx. We explored the tremendous impact of Puerto Rican culture on American life, and the unique blend of Spanish, African, Taino, and American influences that have shaped this “cocina criolla.”

Recipes:

 

August 28: Food Movements that Changed America
With Restaurant Associates Chef William Bednar

We cooked up peace, love, and memories of the Woodstock Music Festival of 1969 with the museum's own Chef Bednar, as he prepared some signature dishes from the festival’s free kitchen and explored how what the festival-goers ate reflected the period’s changing notions about food access and quality.

Recipes:

 

August 21: Food Movements that Changed America
With Sur La Table Chef Lynne Just

This program was all about Julia Child, and her major impact on American food culture in the early 1960s. Chef Lynne prepared some of Julia’s most instructive and delicious dishes, as we discussed how Julia’s emphasis on precise techniques, quality ingredients, and the joy of cooking made the American home kitchen a new place of innovation.

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August 14: Food Movements that Changed America
With Wegmans Chef Llewellyn Correia and Nutritionist Krystal Register

As Llewellyn and Krystal prepared a menu of satisfying vegetarian dishes and showed us their stir-frying techniques, we looked back at the groundbreaking 1971 book Diet for a Small Planet, and considered the ways our diets have shifted toward alternative protein sources and away from meat.

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August 7: Food Movements that Changed America
With L'Academie de Cuisine Chef Brian Patterson

What does it really mean when we talk about grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish, and farm-free eggs? On August 7 we explored the complex questions behind what sustainability really means in the kitchen, and cooked up some dishes that represent the challenges and opportunities that come with eating this way.

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July 31: Summertime Cooking in America
With Restaurant Associates Chef William Bednar

While we endured historically high temperatures, the Museum's Chef Bednar helped us explore traditions of chilling out in the kitchen with cold foods. We considered naturally cooling food and drink, and looked for methods to put summertime produce to work in cold dishes.

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July 24: Summertime Cooking in America
With L’Academie de Cuisine Chef Brian Patterson 

On the 24th, Chef Brian showed us how the backyard grill has become a tool of innovation and inspiration for the summer cookout. We explored the science and techniques behind the perfect grilled steak, and the history behind distinctive dishes such as whole grilled fish, Jamaican jerk chicken, and Middle Eastern-style shish kebabs.

Recipes:

 

July 17: Summertime Cooking in America
With Sur La Table Chef Angie Lee

On the 17th, we took a journey up the Eastern seaboard with Chef Angie as we prepared seafood dishes from the Chesapeake Bay and New England, and considered the long voyage of signature summer seafood such as the Maine lobster roll as each ingredient moves from coast to boat to market to table. 

Recipes:

 

July 10: Summertime Cooking in America
With Wegmans Chef Llewellyn Correia and Nutritionist Krystal Register

Llewellyn and Krystal took us through the basics of marinating, seasoning, and grilling with chicken and vegetables, and we examined how firing up the backyard grill became a major ritual for summertime celebrations. 

Recipes:

 

July 3: Summertime Cooking in America
With Guest Chef Curtis Aikens

Chef Aikens cooked up some sauces, rubs, summer salads, and sweet treats that take him back to his native Georgia and to the rich traditions of the Southern barbecue and picnic. 

Recipes:


SPONSORS

Cooking Up History is made possible with generous support from:

 

Food and Ingredients Sponsor

Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.

 

Kitchen Equipment Sponsors

Sur La Table

Le Creuset

KitchenAid

 

With additional support from

John Boos, Joseph Joseph, KitchenAid, Kitchen IQ, Silpat, SC Johnson, Tovolo, and the following Sur La Table vendors: All-Clad, Chicago Metallic, Cuisinart, Cuisipro, Fat Daddio's, Fortessa, Global, J.K. Adams, Kuhn Rikon, Lodge, Matfer, Messermeister, Microplane, OXO, Pyrex, Rosle, Scanpan, Schott Zwiesel, Shun, Wusthof, and Zwilling J.A. Henckels.

Thank you!

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