A brief reminder about two off-site events during the AAA meetings in DC:
The SAFN distinguished lecturer, Paula J. Johnson, is a curator, project director, and public historian in the Division of Work and Industry at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Along with presenting her work to us at our reception on Friday evening (December 1, 7:45 pm, details here), she has offered to give us a personal tour of the exhibit: “Food: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000” (which she curated).
Ryan Adams, who organized all of this, reminds us that this tour will take place on Saturday, 12/2. We will meet at 11 am at the Constitution Avenue entrance (1st Floor) to The National Museum of American History.
Ryan has also called our attention to a cooking demonstration occurring the same day at the museum. For those of you who may be confronted with fruitcake during the upcoming holidays, this could be a transformative experience. Ryan sends us the following information:
Holiday Traditions with the Smithsonian Folklife Festival
Guest chef: Jennifer Selman
1:00 p.m. Saturday December 2, in the Demonstration Kitchen
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. Chef Selman 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.
The Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition is thrilled to announce our distinguished speaker for the Annual Meetings: Paula J. Johnson is a curator, project director, and public historian in the Division of Work and Industry at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, DC. She is responsible for the food technology and marine resources collections and is the project director and co-curator for the exhibition, FOOD: Transforming the American Table, 1950-2000, which opened in 2012. Johnson was one of the curators who collected the home kitchen of Julia Child in 2001, and developed the exhibition Bon Appétit! Julia Child’s Kitchen at the Smithsonian.
She will be delivering a talk at our reception which will be held on Friday, December 1st at 7:45pm, entitled “Collecting and Curating Food History for a Hungry Public”. Join us and enjoy appetizers and drinks while we reconnect and socialize! Following our distinguished speaker, we will present awards for the Christine Wilson Award and the Thomas Marchione Award.
To celebrate her participation, we are planning a special trip to visit the Food Exhibit at the Smithsonian the same day. Those who are interested in joining us should plan to meet at the Obelisk near the registration desk in the Marriott Lobby at 11:30am on Friday, or meet us at the doors of the Constitution Avenue Entrance of the National Museum of American History at noon. This is quite a large exhibit and covers a tremendous amount of historical and cultural territory. The New York Times described it in this way: “It explores changes in the way our food is grown, manufactured and distributed, with a look at how gender and immigration influence food, as well as the greater role of wine at the table.”
Presentation Title and Abstract
Collecting and Curating Food History for a Hungry Public
This presentation will explore how an interdisciplinary approach to food history at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History is creating new opportunities for research and a vibrant, multi-layered experience for museum visitors. By broadening its research, scholarship, and collecting of objects and archives, the museum’s food history team is building a solid foundation for the study of food history and culture in the United States. The team has also expanded its programmatic offerings to include live cooking demonstrations that link the history of ingredients, culinary techniques, and cultural traditions to larger themes and events in American history. Through experimentation with different program models and rigorous evaluations, the team is developing a new, sensory-rich menu for reaching diverse audiences and for creating new relationships and partnerships. This presentation will reveal lessons learned and encourage dialogue among participants.