Culinary Historians
of Washington, D.C.



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Meetings have included presentations on subjects as diverse as the histories of popcorn, tomatoes, and spices; the culinary traditions of the Chesapeake Bay; and European wrought iron cooking of the Middle Ages and after. Click here for the latest meeting schedule.

Date and Time

CHoW/DC usually meets on the second Sunday of each month, September through May, from 2:30-4:30 p.m. at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Services Center, 4805 Edgemoor Lane, Bethesda, Maryland.


Bethesda-Chevy Chase Services Center is located at 4805 Edgemoor Lane in downtown Bethesda, Maryland, in the two-story County office building on the plaza level of the Metropolitan complex, above a County parking garage. The building is across the street from the Bethesda Metro station. From the Metro Station, take the escalator from the bus bay to the plaza level, turn left, walk past the clock tower and across to the Metropolitan plaza using the pedestrian bridge. The Center's street entrance at 4805 Edgemoor Lane (corner of Old Georgetown and Edgemoore) is marked with American and Montgomery County flags. Take the elevator to Level Two for meeting rooms.


Parking is free on weekends in the county parking garage. The entrance to the parking garage is marked with a large blue Bethesda Center parking sign. If you are coming south on Old Georgetown Road (from the Beltway use exit 36) turn right on Woodmont Avenue - the entrance is the second driveway on the left. If you are coming south on Wisconsin Avenue/Rockville Pike, turn right onto Woodmont Avenue, go south for approximately one mile, cross over Old Georgetown Road, and the parking garage entrance is the second driveway on your left. Coming north on Wisconsin or west on Rt. 410, take Old Georgetown Road north, turn left at the second traffic light (Woodmont Ave.) and the garage entrance will be on your left. Take the elevators from the parking garage to the plaza level (P). The building is located at the center of the plaza. The American flag, Montgomery County flag, and the County seal mark the entrance to the building.

Meeting Schedule for 2015-2016

September 13, 2015 - CiCi Williamson, "ZAP! The History and Hows of the 20th Century’s Most Influential Cooking Appliance"

October 11, 2015 - Garrett Peck, "The History of Beer and Brewing in the Nation’s Capital"

November 8, 2015 - Domenica Marchetti, "The Food History of the Abruzzo Region of Italy"

December 13, 2015 - Barbara Haber, "What Cookbooks Tell Us about Ourselves and Our Past"

January 10, 2016 - John Rees, "Revolutionary War Food History"

February 14, 2016 - Pat Reber, "A Sweet History of Cakes"

March 13, 2016 - Dr. Ava Chin, "Foraging History: From Native Americans to Haute Cuisine"

April 10, 2016 - Cooperative Supper, Alexandria House.

May 1, 2016 - Susan Pinkard, "The Relationship Between French Cooking and the Food of French-Speaking Southern Louisiana"

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Past Meetings

September 2014 - May 2015

September 2013 - June 2014

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September 2012 - June 2013

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September 2011 - June 2012

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September 2010 - May 2011

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September 2009 - May 2010

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September 2008 - May 2009

  • September 14, 2008 - John Martin Taylor, "Food and History in the Carolina Lowcountry"
  • October 12, 2008 - Bee Wilson, Food columnist for London's  Sunday Telegraph. "Swindled: The Dark History of Food Fraud, from Poisoned Candy to Counterfeit Coffee"
  • November 16, 2008 - Andrew Smith, "Hamburger: A Global History"
  • December 14, 2008 - "Festive Food"  Panel composed of CHoW members who will speak about celebratory and symbolic foods from around the world
  • January 11, 2009 - Michael Twitty, "Afro-Maryland Food Culture"
  • February 8, 2009 - CiCi Williamson, "The ZIP Codes of Our Food: A Quick History of Global Cuisines"
  • March 8, 2009 - Pat Reber, Chocolate, and Shirley Cherkasky, marshmallows
  • April 5 2009 - Cooperative Dinner
  • May 3 2009 - Ann Chandonnet, "How Argonauts Ate: Details from Gold Rush Diaries"

September 2007 - May 2008

  • Tyler Cowen, " Every Meal Counts: How and Why An Economist Became Obsessed with the Quest for the Perfect Meal"
  • Stefanie Walker, " Bartolomeo Scappi's "Art of Cooking" (Dell'arte del cucinare) of 1570 and Italian cookbooks from the 16th-17th centuries"
  • Amy Riolo, "Incense and Spice: Entertaining in the Arabian Peninsula"
  • Mark McWilliams,"From Raw Beef Without Salt to Freedom Fries:  Haute Cuisine, the White House and Presidential Politics"
  • Leni Sorensen, " Cooks and Slaves: Edith Fossett and Francis Horn of Monticello"
  • Brenda Rhodes Miller, "If You Don't Want Grits, Why'd You Order Breakfast?  Church Ladies as Custodians of Culture and Tradition"
  • "African Foodways in Books and Art."  A Field Trip to the Robbins Library at the National Museum of African Art
  • "What Made You Interested in Culinary History?"
    Come prepared to share for a few minutes your story of how you became interested in culinary history.  One of the many pleasures of CHoW is that members come from so many backgrounds and have such diverse interests.

September 2006 - May 2007

  • Robert Wolke, “How Chemistry Facilitated Colonial Food Preservation”
  • Warren Belasco, “The Future of Food”
  • Sandy Oliver, “Lessons My New Book Taught Me: Insights Gained from Food in Colonial and Federal America”
  • Cooperative dinner, Foods of Virginia
  • Jane Mengenhauser, Sheilah Kaufman, Kay Shaw Nelson, Amy Riolo, Hanne Caraher, “A Festival of Frugality”
  • Paul Lukas, “The Rise of American Wine”
  • Deborah Warner, “How Sweet It Is: Sugar Science and the State”
  • Psyche Williams-Forson, “African American Women, Food Service, and the Railroad”
  • Tour of Mount Vernon's reconstructed distillery and grist mill, with a talk by the archeologist of the distillery

September 2005 - May 2006

  • Sandra Sherman, “Fresh from the Past: Recipes and Revelations from Moll Flanders’ Kitchen”
  • CiCi Williamson, “From Sea Biscuits to Sally Lunn: The Evolution of Virginia’s Famous Foods”
  • Pierre Laszlo, “Daily and Festival Foods and Drink in a French Village”
  • Joan Nathan, “Innovators and Innovations in the Last Forty Years: The New American Cooking”
  • Charlotte Hays, Being Dead Is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies’ Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral”
  • Panel of members, “Passing on Culinary Traditions”
  • Cooperative dinner, Foods of the Caribbean

September 2004 - May 2005

  • Dar Curtis, "Solar Cooking: Cuisine for a Sunny Day"
  • Nancy Carter Crump, “Marion Harland”
  • Willis Van Devanter, "The Evolution of the American Cookbook"
  • Pierre Laszlo, "The History of Orange Juice"
  • Cooperative dinner, Recipes from Julia Child
  • Claire Cassidy, "Kitchen-Book Archeology"
  • Elisabetta Castleman, ''Italian Regional Cuisine"
  • Shirley Cherkasky, "The Mediterranean's Colorful Contributions to American Confectionery"

September 2003 - May 2004

  • CiCi Williamson, ''The Best of Virginia Farms"
  • Gunston Hall hearth-cooking demonstration and tour of historic breeds program
  • Joel Denker, "Ethnic Food in America”
  • Hi Soo Shin Hepinstall, "Korean Food Traditions"
  • Helen Tangires, "Public Markets and Civic Culture in 19th-century America"
  • Ann Yonkers and Robin Shuster, "Washington Area Farm Markets: The Future of Local Food"
  • Carole Baldwin, "Sustainable Seas"
  • Behind-the-scenes tour of the Woodrow Wilson House with Frank J. Aucella
  • Excursion to Waltz farm, Smithsburg, MD

September 2002 - May 2003

  • Najmieh Batmanglij, " Silk Road Cooking”
  • Laura Shapiro, "At the Heart of the Fifties: Poppy Cannon and Alice B. Toklas"
  • David Shayt, "Krispy Kreme and Other Food-Based Collections at the Smithsonian Institution"
  • Cooperative dinner, Food of the Chesapeake Region
  • Joshua Silver, “The Tippler's Guide to Philadelphia”
  • Warren Belasco, “Three Perspectives on the Future of Food”
  • Susan McCreary, “Strawberries”
  • Anne Bower,” Reading Community Cookbooks: Recipes, History, Values, and More”

September 2001 - May 2002

  • Roger Horowitz, "’I Wish I Was an Oscar Mayer Wiener': Hot Dogs and the Transformation of Meat in America"
  • Angela Saunders, "Oh Unnatural Murderer!: Vegetarian Trends In 18th Century Europe and America"
  • Bryna Freyer, "101 Ways Not To Use Your Fingers: American Silverplate and Food"
  • Susan Derecskey, Dianne Hennessy King, Joan Nathan, "Consider the Cookbook: Cookbook Writers Discuss Their Craft”
  • Lisa Cherkasky, "Smoke and Mirrors: Food on Film"
  • Marcie Cohen Ferris, "Southern Jewish Foodways: A Report on Research in Progress"
  • Cooperative dinner, Foods of the Silk Road, with Najmieh Batmanglij
  • Virginia S, Jenkins, "Learning To Pick Crabs: Mexican Migrant Workers in Dorchester County Maryland"

September 2000 - May 2001

  • Joan Nathan, "The History of Jewish Cooking in America"
  • Sandra Oliver, "Discovering Saltwater Foodways: 19th Century New Englanders and Their Food at Sea and Ashore"
  • Psyche Williams-Forson, "A Bird in de Han': African Americans Chicken and the Power of Food Narratives"
  • Susan Strasser, "Waste and Want: A Social History of Trash; White Foods
  • John Ferry, "The French Connection: Stew Stoves in America"
  • Hearth-cooking demonstration at Gunston Hall
  • Cooperative dinner, Paris between the Wars
  • Warren Belasco, "Food in Popular Music"

September 1999 - May 2000

  • Miguel Bretos," Vegemite: The Australian Caviar"
  • Virginia S, Jenkins, "Nobody Counted the Calories: Travel on Chesapeake Bay Steamboats"
  • Richard Wattenmaker, "European Wrought Iron Cooking and Fireplace Utensils From the Middle Ages to the Nineteenth Century”
  • "Food and Memory"
  • Andrew Smith, "A History of Soup"
  • Warren Belasco, "Food and Film"
  • Jane Dusselier, "Candy during the Gilded Age and Progressive Era"
  • Cooperative dinner, Fabulous Fifties
  • Shirley Cherkasky, "The Birthday Cake: Its Evolution From a Rite of the Elite to the Right of Everyone"

September 1998 - May 1999

  • Keith Allen, "A Restaurant Guide to Turn-of-the-Century Berlin"
  • Psyche Williams, "Black-Eye Peas and Collard Greens: What Is African-American about African-American Foodways?
  • David Williams, "The Mystery of the Demise of Hard Cider in America"
  • "Food and Memory"
  • Donna Gabaccia, "We Are What We Eat: Ethnic Food and the Making of the Americas"
  • Rayna Green, "Selu Manoomin and Muktuk: Death and Rebirth in Native American Foodways"
  • CiCi Williamson, "The Glorious Paprikas of Hungary: How the Vegetable Became the Spice"
  • Cooperative dinner, The Legacy of Mary Randolph
  • Shelly McKenzie, "The Politics of Food: America Eats and the Federal Writers' Project"

September 1997 - May 1998

  • Jeremy Korr, "Water Joe and Krank2O: The Simultaneous Emergence of Caffeinated Water Beverages and Interactive Web-Based Advertising"
  • Brett Williams, "Southern Food Traditions and Community Gardening in Washington"
  • A. Henry Ward, "From the Ground Up: An Archaeologists' Perspective on the Cuisine of the Chesapeake Bay"
  • Warren Belasco, "Meal in a Pill"
  • Ann Wilder, "Around the World in 80 Years: Following the Chili Trail"
  • Andrew Smith, "The Popcorn Polka or How Popcorn Became America's Favorite Snack Food"
  • Shirley Cherkasky "Fishing in the Doorway and Cherries on the Ledges"
  • Laura Shapiro, "In Search of Betty Crocker"
  • Lucy Long, "Culinary Tourism: Explorations in the Exotic and the Familiar"
  • Roulhac Toledano, "Doe Dinners to Queen's Suppers: Mardi Gras Feasting"
  • Warren Belasco, "Why Food Matters"
  • Brigitte Martin, "Re-Creating Colonial Bread"
  • Mara Cherkasky, "May Breakfasts in Rhode Island: A 130-Year-Old Tradition"