Culinary Historians | The History of Bread in Medieval Europe

In his Summation of All Theology (published in the 1260s), Thomas Aquinas stated categorically that God was not present in sacred breads made from any grains other than wheat. Aquinas further advised that the wheaten host should be made as small, flat, white discs without any leavening, completely unlike the bread people ate at home. Yet a thousand years earlier Christians had celebrated Jesus’s Last Supper using whatever breads they had at hand.

Culinary Historians | Pumpkin: The Curious History of an American Icon

Why do so many Americans drive for miles each autumn to buy a vegetable that they are unlikely to eat? While most people around the world eat pumpkin throughout the year, North Americans reserve it for holiday pies and other desserts that celebrate the harvest season and the rural past. They decorate the front of their houses with pumpkins every autumn and welcome Halloween trick-or-treaters with elaborately carved jack-o’-lanterns. Towns hold annual pumpkin festivals featuring giant pumpkins and carving contests, even though few have any historic ties to the crop.

Culinary Historians | Wealth and Want: Food in the Gilded Age

The Gilded Age was defined by extremes of wealth and want, and those extremes played out dramatically in the ways Americans ate. For the elite, daily meals were extravagant and formal banquets became complicated rituals of luxury and intentional waste. While a wealthy minority feasted, many other Americans struggled to feed themselves, and hunger and misery were widespread among the rural poor and those in city slums.

Culinary Historians | Made in Chicago: Stories Behind 30 Great Hometown Bites

Italian beef and hot dogs get the headlines. Cutting-edge cuisine and big-name chefs get Michelin stars. But Chicago food shows its true depth in classic dishes conceived in the kitchens of immigrant innovators, neighborhood entrepreneurs, and mom-and-pop visionaries.

Culinary journalists Monica Eng and David Hammond will discuss their new book, Made in Chicago: Stories Behind 30 Great Hometown Bites, in which they draw on decades of exploring the city’s food landscape to serve up 30 can’t-miss eats found in all corners of Chicago.

Culinary Historians | What's for Dinner? Menus & More from the Janice Bluestein Longone Culinary Archive

Join Librarian Juli McLoone from the University of Michigan for a taste of the Janice Bluestein Longone Culinary Archive (JBLCA). Founded by culinary historian and adjunct curator Janice Bluestein Longone and her husband Daniel T. Longone, JBLCA is recognized across the country as a premier collection documenting the production, promotion, preparation, and consumption of food and drink, with a particular focus on the American experience. Areas of particular strength include community and charity cookbooks, immigrant cookbooks, and food-related ephemera.

Culinary Historians | Lisa McDonald: Tea for Dummies

Lisa McDonald is the co-author of Tea for Dummies, a guide to enjoying the delicate flavors and health benefits of the world’s second most popular beverage. She will discuss research on tea’s benefits, where it’s grown, how it’s processed and how it’s enjoyed around the world. Lisa is the proprietor of TeaHaus, a tea store, tea room and café in downtown Ann Arbor.

This event is in partnership with the Culinary Historians of Ann Arbor.

Culinary Historians | Bound to the Fire: How Virginia's Enslaved Cooks Helped Invent American Cuisine

In her book Bound to the Fire: How Virginia’s Enslaved Cooks Helped Invent American Cuisine, Kelley Fanto Deetz draws upon archaeological evidence, cookbooks, plantation records, and folklore to present a study of the lives of enslaved plantation cooks from colonial times through emancipation and beyond. She reveals how these men and women were literally "bound to the fire" as they lived and worked in the sweltering and often fetid conditions of plantation house kitchens.