WASHINGTON, DC – The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will host its second annual Smithsonian Food History Weekend, a celebration and exploration of American food history, Oct. 27–29. To connect with the museum’s 2016 theme of America Participates, a yearlong investigation of how Americans contribute to their democracy, the weekend will look at “Politics on Your Plate” and the relationship between food, politics and people.
The Smithsonian Food History Weekend is a cornerstone of the museum’s Smithsonian Food History Project. Food is a shared human experience that instantly connects personal, family and national memories. The museum brings food history and related topics to the nation through its exhibitions, research and collecting, online offerings and public programs.
Every fall, the Smithsonian Food History Weekend brings together culinary leaders, researchers, practitioners and scholars to inspire visitors with demonstrations, hands-on learning opportunities, tastings, talks and more. Participants for the 2016 weekend include Jane and Michael Stern, Jane and Michael Stern, award-winning authors best known for their book Roadfood and its companion website; cookbook author Dorie Greenspan; and Alex Prud’homme, co-author with Julia Child of My Life in France and author of The French Chef in America, to be published October 2016.
“Through programming that showcases museum collections and invites people to participate in conversations, cooking demonstrations and other activities, the Smithsonian Food History Weekend will help visitors understand how individuals and groups have played a role in shaping the history and future of their communities—and America—through food,” said John Gray, director of the museum.
The weekend is made up of five distinct events over the course of three days:
The Smithsonian Food History Gala, Thursday, Oct. 27, is a seated dinner and fundraiser for the museum’s food history programming. The evening features the presentation of the Julia Child Award, an annual honor given out by The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts, which recognizes an individual who has made a profound and significant difference in the way America cooks, eats and drinks. The foundation today announced Chef Rick Bayless as the recipient of the second annual Julia Child Award. In 2015, at the inaugural gala, the award was presented to Jacques Pépin.
The Food History Roundtables, Friday, Oct. 28, presents a day of discussions that are free and open to the public, featuring leading researchers, practitioners and thinkers discussing big issues around food and politics in America.
Dine Out for Smithsonian Food History, Friday, Oct. 28, is an experience throughout greater Washington, D.C., featuring a special plate at select restaurants inspired by the themes of the weekend.
The Food History Festival, Saturday, Oct. 29, is a full day of free activities for visitors of all ages, including live cooking demonstrations, hands-on learning, curator-guided tours and rarely exhibited museum objects on display.
Red, White, and Brewed: After Hours at the Food History Weekend, Saturday, Oct. 29, is a ticketed evening program that will explore the relationship between America’s craft breweries, their communities and American history.
The full program and list of participants for the weekend will be available later this summer.
The Smithsonian Food History Weekend Gala is made possible in part by the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts. Weekend programming is also supported in part by John Deere. The museum is seeking additional sponsors for the gala and the Food History Weekend.