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 Coulter Performance Plaza. Cooking Up History showcases a guest chef and our Smithsonian Food History host 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 Stars & Stripes Café after programs as noted.
Every month we cook something different, but the food we make always ties back to our exhibitions, research, and collections (some of those objects might even be brought out of storage!). As we cook, we explore questions about food, identity, tradition, and innovation throughout American history:
- What does our love of the backyard grill tell us about American leisure in the 1950s?
- 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, sushi, kimchi, pizza—become part of the American diet?
Friday, July 21: Cajun and Creole Food Traditions
Guest chef: David Guas
2:00 p.m. in the Demonstration Kitchen
What is the history behind Cajun and Creole cuisines, and how are they different? On July 21, we welcome Louisiana native chef David Guas of Arlington’s Bayou Bakery, and we’ll cook 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. After the demonstration Chef David will sign copies of his Southern baking book, Dam Good Sweet, which will be available for purchase on site.