Cooking up history

Julia ChildIf you live near Washington, DC, or are planning a visit there and love food, one "can't miss" attraction is the National Museum of American History. The museum features an entire exhibition on food, plus a monthly class called "Cooking up History". The classes take place in museum's demonstration kitchen on the Coulter Performance Plaza and each showcases a guest chef, along with Smithsonian staff, preparing a recipe and talking about the history and traditions behind its ingredients, culinary techniques, and enjoyment. 

While the classes are not a hands-on demonstration, you can try a dish inspired by the demonstration by heading to the museum's Stars & Stripes Café. This Friday's class looks especially interesting. To celebrate Julia Child's 105th birthday, guest chef  Lynne Just will prepare dishes from Julia's collaborations with master chefs in the 1990s. The class aims to "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."

The museum's website lists upcoming classes, including September's focus on Hispanic Food Migrations. The guest chef for that class has not yet been announced. Even if you cannot attend a class at the National Museum of American History, you can walk through Julia Child's kitchen, which was taken from her Boston area home and is now displayed as part of the FOOD exhibition. Can't make it to Washington? Tour it it virtually by visiting the museum's companion website.

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