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, August 11: Julia Child's Kitchen Classroom
Guest chef: Lynne Just, Sur La Table
2:00 p.m. in the Demonstration Kitchen
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 welcome Sur La Table chef Lynne Just to prepare a few dishes from Julia’s collaborations with master chefs in the 1990s. As we cook, we’ll explore 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, will celebrate 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