POSTED Fri. Dec 9, 2016

Creative Culture

Grab a Taste of Louisiana at SoFAB Lunch Demonstrations
Written by LB KOVAC
SHARE

There are plenty of restaurants in New Orleans where $40 won’t get you through appetizers and pre-dinner cocktails. But a $40 ticket to one of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum Lunch Demonstrations will not only buy you a huge three-course meal (with sides and beverages) – it will also grant you access to the history behind New Orleans’ rich and layered contribution to food culture.

“Creole food” – New Orleans’ food – as Lafcadio Hearn first pointed out in La Cuisine Creole, is unique. It counts the French, African, Italian, German, and in its more modern iteration, Vietnamese cooking traditions among its influences, including others, and, as Liz Williams, founder and director of SoFAB points out, it “is constantly changing” as new people visit the city and incorporate their own unique flavors.

Williams and SoFAB coordinator Jyl Benson came up with the idea for New Orleans-inspired lunch demonstrations in the museum’s open-plan, state-of-the-art kitchen. The pair wanted to share the heritage of Creole cuisine with New Orleans’ natives and visitors alike.

Throughout its history, New Orleans has attracted immigrants and tourists from all over the world. This means that many of the dishes that end up on plates in restaurants and homes across the city have their roots in cuisines from halfway across the world.

Take, for example, that New Orlean favorite: the muffuletta. This thick sandwich, composed of a rich olive salad, cold cut meats like salami and ham, provolone cheese, and an oversized sesame seed bun, is a staple in any restaurant in French Quarter or grocery store in Uptown.

“[New Orleans] certainly didn’t invent the [muffuletta],” says Williams, “but we did popularize it. And we were probably the first ones to call that sandwich by that name.”

Sicilian immigrants – sailors, laborers, and other blue collar workers – are more likely responsible; these men and women wanted quick and easy lunches that had ingredients familiar to them.

Perhaps the most important part of the muffuletta, the part that gives it a distinct, tangy flavor – the olive salad – is made from ingredients not native to the swamps of Louisiana, but the gently sloping hills and jagged coasts of Italy: crushed black and green olives, bright olive oil, and salty anchovies.

And while you can find this olive salad in many places around New Orleans, it is only at the SoFAB lunch demonstration that you learn how to make it yourself. It’s just one of the distinctly New Orleans dishes on the menu.

Benson walks you through the steps of making each dish, from prepping spices and herbs before the cooking starts to adding orange and lemon zests to a finished sauce to brighten it. As souvenirs go, the idea is novel and excellent – rather than a string of beads or a plastic daiquiri cup, you can travel back home with a new favorite recipe to share with your family and friends.

And while you wait on the sauce to thicken for the main course, you are treated to a guided tour of the SoFAB museum, led by Williams.

Benson and Williams, with the help of sponsor donations, grants, and volunteers, have cultivated one of the most extensive and unique collections of New Orleans cooking and food artifacts around. Two of New Orleans’ oldest restaurants, Tujague’s and Antoine’s, have dedicated exhibits, and there is an entire wall dedicated to the influence New Orleans has had on the cocktail.

Among the museum’s exhibits are many things that you would perhaps expect from a museum dedicated to food: gold-filigree china used by a president, ornately-carved pure silver cutlery, and prized crystal decanters.

But there are unexpected gems of a bygone era as well: 1930’s paper grocery bags, with ads for local politicians seeking election; unopened bottles of cheap, store-brand bourbon; and commercial wash basins from a time before indoor plumbing.

The museum itself is built in part of the old Dryades Market, and much of the grocery store’s original architecture, including the scaffolding, is still visible.

The best part of the demonstration, of course, is getting to eat the delicious foods. While other museums might discourage you from eating or drinking inside, at SoFAB, you are encouraged to dig right in. And there’s plenty for second helpings.

To attend a Southern Food and Beverage Museum Lunch Demonstration, you can purchase a ticket at SoFab’s website. Demonstrations run from 11am-1pm and are scheduled into 2017.

POSTED May 10, 2017

Creative Culture

Carnival Redux at the New Orleans Museum of Art

Carnival Redux at the New Orleans Museum of Art

On May 12 the New Orleans Museum of Art will fling open its doors for Masquerade: Late Night at NOMA, a costume party replete with float builders, mask-makers,…....
CONTINUE

Written by DAVID JOHNSON
POSTED Dec 23, 2016

Atmosphere

Some Holiday Music for the Weekend

Some Holiday Music for the Weekend

Happy holidays, y’all. We hope you find plenty to occupy you during this busy Christmas weekend, but if you find yourself having a small, quiet moment, or just…....
CONTINUE

Written by ADAM KARLIN
POSTED Dec 21, 2016

Creative Culture

A Native New Orleanian's Retrospective at NOMA

A Native New Orleanian's Retrospective at NOMA

Imagine doing something you love for seventy years. Many people aren’t lucky enough to live that long, much less put their heart and soul into their passion projects…....
CONTINUE

Written by FRITZ ESKER
POSTED Dec 20, 2016

Atmosphere

Losing Our Heads Over the Asylum Chorus

Losing Our Heads Over the Asylum Chorus

On a Sunday afternoon in November, The Asylum Chorus plays to a packed house at The Spotted Cat on Frenchman. Wandering in off the street, it takes a…....
CONTINUE

Written by MEGHAN HOLMES
PAGE

    Our Local Publisher Partners

    • The Arts Council of New Orleans
    • WWNO
    • WWOZ
    • PRC
    • NOMA
    • The Historic New Orleans Collection
    • Southern Food
    • Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities
    The Arts Council of New Orleans

    The Arts Council of New Orleans is a private, non-profit organization designated as the City’s official arts agency. The Arts Council serves as one of eight regional distributing agencies for state arts funds and administers available municipal arts grants and the Percent For Art program for the City of New Orleans. The Arts Council works in partnership with the City of New Orleans, community groups, local, state, and national governmental agencies, and other nonprofit arts organizations to meet the arts and cultural needs of the New Orleans community through a diversity of initiatives and services.

    WWNO

    WWNO, the NPR member station for New Orleans, serves southeast Louisiana and parts of southwest Mississippi by broadcasting balanced news, thought provoking analysis, classical music, jazz and other musical styles, intelligent entertainment, and unique local content. We broadcast on 89.9 FM, and KTLN 90.5 FM in the Houma-Thibodaux area as a public service of the University of New Orleans. All of WWNO’s programs, including its growing local news coverage, are available online at WWNO.org.

    WWOZ

    WWOZ 90.7 FM is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Station offering listener-supported, volunteer-programmed community radio. WWOZ covers many events live in and around the city and across the United States, and broadcasts live from the famed New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival annually. WWOZ’s mission is to be the worldwide voice, archive, and flag-bearer of New Orleans culture and musical heritage.

    PRC

    Preservation Resource Center (PRC) has been preserving, restoring, and revitalizing New Orleans’ historic architecture and neighborhoods since 1974. Throughout its history, PRC has acted as an advocacy agent on a local, regional, and national scale, spreading the word about the city’s rich architectural heritage and the economic importance of preserving this heritage. PRC also takes a hands-on approach to preservation, with a history of successfully restoring over 1,400 properties. The center strengthens and revitalizes New Orleans in a way that is forward-looking and sustainable, yet sensitive to the city’s past and its heritage.

    NOMA

    As a nexus for the arts in New Orleans, NOMA is committed to preserving, interpreting, and enriching its collections and renowned sculpture garden; offering innovative experiences for learning and interpretation; and uniting, inspiring, and engaging diverse communities and cultures.

    The Historic New Orleans Collection

    The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) is a museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to preserving the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. Its holdings comprise more than one million items from more than three centuries, documenting moments both major and minor. Its four exhibition spaces–the Williams Gallery, the Louisiana History Galleries, the Boyd Cruise Gallery, and the Laura Simon Nelson Galleries for Louisiana Art–faithfully depict the multicultural stories of the region, from permanent displays exploring the evolution of Louisiana to rotating exhibitions showcasing history and fine art.

    Southern Food

    The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is a nonprofit living history organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and the related culture of the South. While based in New Orleans, the Museum examines and celebrates all the cultures that have come together through the centuries to create the South’s unique culinary heritage. The Museum is also home to the collections of the Museum of the American Cocktail, the Galerie d’Absinthe, and a demonstration kitchen.

    Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to all Louisianans.

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ mission is to provide all Louisianans with access to and an appreciation of their own rich, shared and diverse historical, literary and cultural heritage through grant-supported outreach programs, family literacy and adult reading initiatives, teacher professional development institutes, publications, film and radio documentaries, museum exhibitions, cultural tourism, public lectures, library projects, and other public humanities programming.

    X

    Thanks.

    was added to your favorites.

    VIEW YOUR PROFILE

     


    Share On Twitter Share On Facebook