Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Inside the Southern Food and Beverage Museum

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Inside the Southern Food and Beverage Museum

Article excerpt

There's a lot cooking at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, which recently marked its first year at its new location in the old Dryades Market.

From its weekly "A Taste of New Orleans" demos to its annual "Trail of Smoke and Fire" celebration to its in-house eatery (Purloo), there's plenty for visitors to sink their teeth into. In salute to SoFAB's success -- and the revitalization of its Central City neighborhood -- we touched base with museum president and director Liz Williams, whose third book, a toast to New Orleans' cocktail culture, is due in early 2016.

SoFAB has been instrumental in the renewal of Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard.

Williams: Since we opened, lots and lots of places have opened as well, like the Jazz Market, Primitivo, the Tattoo Museum, and more are in the works. The neighborhood in general is being revitalized, not only on OC Haley; the streets between it and St. Charles are just on fire. There's construction everywhere, and it's starting to move toward Claiborne as well. There's been a lot of transformation - - and people on the street -- which is great.

The museum currently has exhibits focusing on barbecue and modernist cuisine. Talk about that dichotomy.

Williams: They are actually not that different. There's a lot of science involved in making barbecue and a lot of science in the modernist cuisine exhibit. It reflects that Southerners are not just mired in the past, but involved in the present as well as the future. As food changes, we change too.

You also now have weekly lunchtime cooking demonstrations.

Williams: Our "A Taste of New Orleans" demos are on Mondays at 11 a.m. and allow visitors to learn about the history of New Orleans cuisine while eating it. We have a remoulade salad, Creole jambalaya and bananas Foster. It's designed to teach people some of the techniques involved with Creole cooking as well as the history of the dishes, the development of the food culture here and what it means to the identity of the city. …

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