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CHB Annual Banquet

May 22, 2011: Our Anniversary Banquet

Happy Anniversary to Us!!

     A rather belated thirtieth anniversary celebration took place in May, thirty-one years after the Culinary Historians of Boston was founded by Barbara K. Wheaton, Joyce Toomre, Sheryl Julian, and Ann Robert. The first meeting of the country’s first culinary history group was a brown bag lunch held under a maple tree in Radcliffe Yard. Today, there are more than a dozen such groups, everywhere from Hawaii to Michigan to New York.
     The celebratory pot luck banquet was held at Newbury College and hosted by Madonna Berry, Assistant Professor in the Culinary Arts at the school, who was ably assisted by Felicia Jones, one of her students. CHB members brought foods they remembered from earlier banquets or family favorites.
For the appetizer course, Anne Faulkner made flat breads topped with cheese and accompanied by a green olive salad, from our Turkish banquet menu. Sarah Boardman made cheese crusted olives.
     The main course began with Madonna Berry’s creamy root vegetable soup. Priscilla Moskos prepared grape leaves stuffed with rice and vegetables and accompanied by Greek yogurt. Agni Thurner made spanakoriso, a Greek spinach and rice dish, and green beans almondine. She also made a medieval bread and dried fruit stuffing that was baked under the chicken Madonna Berry prepared from a Maria Parloa recipe. Judy Kales made one of her family’s favorites, a Hungarian cucumber and onion salad with Aleppo pepper.
     The highlight of the dessert table was John Thurner’s anniversary cake, made from a medieval fruit cake recipe and topped with marzipan. Nancy Kalegian brought gatnabour, an Armenian rice pudding with raisins to which she added mint. She recreated the pudding from a lost family recipe and won $5,000 in a Sun-Maid raisin contest several years ago. Ruth Palombo also brought a family favorite, a Serphadic baked pudding. The rhubarb for Linda Piette’s rhubarb and strawberry cobbler was fresh from her garden. Jeri Quinzio brought a traditional Easter ricotta pie, similar to one from the Italian Renaissance banquet. Judy Kales brought a jar of pistachio honey she had bought in Sicily and served it with ricotta. Happy Anniversary to us all.

A number of challenges faced the culinary historians in the Spring of 2010 leading to the cancellation of the 2010 Banquet.

Mitton House, 135 Fisher Ave. Newbury College, Sunday, May 23, 2010

Foods of the Triangular Trades

The 2010 banquet was planned to move along the sea-lanes of the early British Empire "between the civil wars," 1650-1775. It marks the introduction of new foods from the tropics of Africa and the Caribbean to the Anglo-American table, as well as Mediterranean foods and Asian spices in larger quantities.

Pick a recipe and get involved on the banquet resources page.

May 17, 2009: 18th Century Colonial American Taverns

2009's banquet featured the food and drink among the "pumpkinhead" bumpkins of the coastal American colonies of the expanding British empire. For culinary historians, it is a rich yet under-explored period in which the new foodstuffs of empire and the changes within British society produced many changes in the kitchen. Available materials include the first widely used cookbooks by women, recently published culinary manuscripts, and even the first English translations of French culinary classics. Moving backward in time we recreated the flavor of the first North American cups of the Chinese tea Bostonians threw in the harbor, and such treats familiar from literature as Plymouth succotash, thirded bread, grilled shad, jumbles, home-cured ham, pounded cheese, ale, hard cider, beach plum bounce, boiled dinner, and diverse "sallets."

For Isabel Chesak's report on the Banquet, click here.


May 13, 2007, Iraqi Food; 5000 Years of Great Eating

Members cooked the ancient and multicultural food of Iraq with member and author Nawal Nasrallah.

June 18, 2006, The Many Cuisines of New Orleans

Members cooked in the many historic styles of New Orleans, including dishes from the various Creole communities, Cajun, Native American, and African American specialties, and some modern fusions.

May 22, 2005 Julia Child and Madame E. Saint-Ange.

Julia Child in her kitchen, late 70s Mitton House of Newbury College, 135 Fisher Avenue, Brookline, Sunday, May 22, 2005. Last year's banquet was a memorial to our late friend and inspiration, Julia Child, featuring dishes from her model cookbook, the 1927 Le Livre de Cuisine de Mme E. Saint-Ange (now out in an English translation by Paul Aratow, former chef at Chez Panisse), and from the early works of Julia Child. It was the early 20th Century French home cooking that made Julia Child want to be The French Chef, and that made so many of us want to be Julia Child. Desserts to die for. Regional French wines provided by Fred Ek of Excellers Wine Agents.
Real Paper photo by Martha Stewart [not that one], Julia in her Cambridge kitchen, late 1970s.

2003 Banquet: Mrs. Charles Dickens' menu book:

Dickens banquet photo Photo by Ai Ling Sim-Devadas

2003 Banquet: The Civil War, North and South

dessert table, Civil War Banquet

Photos of 2003 Banquet by Mark H. Zanger

Costumed interpreters and guests at Civil War Banquet

Costumed members of the Commonwealth Vintage Dancers at the buffet. The chimney in the foreground is part of an antique military stove lent for the occasion by the Culinary Archive and Museum at Johnson and Wales College.

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Copyright ©1996-2018 by Culinary Historians of Boston. Button images adapted from from Miss Parloa's Kitchen Companion (1887), The New Franklin Primer and First Reader (1885), and St. Nicholas magazine, March 1877.