Southern Food and Beverage Museum
The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is a non-profit museum based in New Orleans, Louisiana with a mission to explore the culinary history of the American Southern states, to explain the roots of Southern food and drinks. Their exhibits focus on every aspect of food in the South, from the cultural traditions to the basic recipes and communities formed through food.
A brief history
The Museum was founded in 2004 by Matt Konigsmark, Gina Warner, and Elizabeth Williams, who is now President. It got its start through a small exhibit on the history and influences of beverages in New Orleans. With help from co-founders Elizabeth Pearce and a growing board of interested foodies from around the South, the exhibits grew. Pearce curated an exhibit based on the revival of restaurants in post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans called Restaurant Restorative that was featured at the 2006 James Beard Foundation Awards. From there, it was only a matter of finding the proper space for a full-sized museum on food and beverages that would cover the entire South, not just New Orleans and Louisiana. In the summer of 2008, the Museum finally found a home in Riverwalk Marketplace, a shopping mall right on the Mississippi River in the Warehouse District of New Orleans.
On September 1, 2011, the Southern Food and Beverage Museum announced it will be relocating to a larger space on O. C. Haley Boulevard in historic Central City, New Orleans.. The groundbreaking at the historic Dryades Market building happened on June 25, 2012. The new facility opened on September 29, 2014. Plans for the new location include a full service restaurant, a children's gallery, a culinary innovation center, and an exhibit for every southern state.
The Southern Food and Beverage Museum features a wide range of food and beverage related exhibits.
The Leah Chase Louisiana Gallery is a permanent gallery focused on the food and traditions of Louisiana. The gallery is named after New Orleans creole chef Leah Chase. Louisiana Eats! Laissez Faire – Savoir Fare, as the exhibit is called, covers everything from beignets to harvesting crawfish, to the evolution of jambalaya through colonial and native foods.
Bruning's Bar is a bar from the 1830s that is in the process of being restored. It was salvaged from the wreckage of Bruning's Restaurant, the third oldest restaurant in New Orleans, after Hurricane Katrina. The bar is also used as such during special events.
Tout de Sweet: All About Sugar shows the important role that sugar has played in Louisiana as well as the world, and also what an important role Louisiana has played in the sugar industry.
Capturing the Coast: Eating from the Gulf tells the story of the Gulf of Mexico; its changing coast and health, the food that is fished there, and the culture of people who live and work there. It explores the food of the gulf, the history of fishing in it, and what the future can hold in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in 2010.
The Delgado Community College Culinary Arts Program is the focus of a new exhibit that will become part of the permanent collections of the Southern Food & Beverage Museum. Videos of class demonstrations, student projects, and more from the program will showcase the amazing work and delicious flavors that have come out of Delgado.
Red Bean City explores how and why red beans and rice is an unstoppable weekly ritual and a symbol of local culture and way of life in New Orleans. The Hayward family of Camellia Beans tells their story going all the way back to 1836, and you’ll get a look at how a New Orleans trumpet player, a small army of creole cooks, a chicken king’s secret chef, and the people of New Orleans helped propel the red kidney bean to worldwide acclaim.
Dirty Pages: Nashville Women and the Recipes that Tell Their Stories involves photos and stories celebrating shared, passed-down food memories and the abundant variety of Nashville’s food traditions and cultures. It originated at the Nashville Farmers’ Market with accompanying events celebrating the legacy of well loved recipes.
Creative Kitchen of Al Copeland takes you through the passionate life of Al Copeland from his time as a poor boy working at Schwegmanns, to his creation of his famous spicy fried chicken made exclusively for Popeyes, to his passing from a rare form of cancer and the starting of the Al Copeland Foundation to find a cure. Al Copeland was known for his spicy chicken, restaurants, Christmas lights, living on the “fast track” and so much more!
Gallery of the South: States of Taste a collection of exhibits on the food and foodways of each Southern state. The exhibits, created by a group of curators from each state, explore and celebrate the food items, recipes, people, brands, dishes, agriculture, industry, cooking techniques, and everything else that is woven together to create the quintessential food geography of each state. The exhibits are both historical and modern, revealing what makes each state’s food and culture of eating unique. In addition the exhibits celebrate the food traditions we all share to create a distinct regional food culture that can be so clearly described as “Southern”.
Galatoire's Restaurant: An Exhibit showcases artifacts and memories from the restaurant’s history from a glass celebrating the restaurant’s 100th anniversary to letters from Julia Child recounting her visits to Galatoire’s in the 70’s. Together these pieces tell the story of an important landmark in the South’s culinary history.
The Menu Project is an ongoing exhibit and call for menus from restaurants throughout the South. These are useful in highlighting similarities and differences throughout the South, as well as following trends and preferences in the food world.
The Southern Food and Beverage Museum usually hosts events on weekends to allow visitors to interact with food in a more traditional way. The events can be anything from cooking demonstrations to workshops on beer making or rum tasting. They are well supported by the New Orleans food community, which is especially evident at these events and galas where many famous chefs and restaurants contribute food and support.
The Museum also hosts children's culinary camps that teach kids how to cook and appreciate food. There are also lesson plans for teachers to use to teach history and culture through a culinary approach.
Red Beans and Ricely Yours: The Museum reprinted Christopher Blake's 1982 cookbook in both 2005 and 2006. It is a collection of traditional recipes from New Orleans, beginning with Louis Armstrong's favorite, the classic red beans and rice.
Room in the Bowl: In partnership with the Culinary Trust of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP), the Museum published this collection of essays and photographs examining the signature dish of Louisiana: a pot of gumbo.
On the Line is SoFab's online blog, with recipes and features by multiple contributors, all experts on food and food ways of the south. Liz Williams, museum director, writes the Bread and Butter feature, which focuses on her expertise in food law.
The Museum of the American Cocktail is housed in the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. It chronicles the extensive history of the cocktail in America and provides a wealth of information regarding the social and cultural impact of alcoholic beverages.
SoFAB's culinary library and archive
In late October 2013, SoFAB opened a culinary library on O.C. Haley Boulevard, a short distance from where the new museum will be located. This research library is open to the public and houses over 10,000 volumes including cookbooks, magazines, and books about food history and food politics.
It is also home to a growing archival collection. The archive will be a resource for scholars examining the culture of the South and the role of food and beverages in cultural history.
The library and archive contain information about food from all over the world, not limited to the American South.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-09-10. Retrieved 2011-09-29.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "Quick Bites:Southern Food and Beverage Museum going strong".
- "Southern Food and Beverage Museum breaks ground at new location".
- "Eat With Your Eyes: Five Great Museums Devoted to Food".
- "The Queen of Creole Cuisine's latest honor is a museum gallery".
- "New SoFAB Culinary Library and Archive opens Wednesday in New Orleans".
-  Archived 2011-06-16 at the Wayback Machine
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