Saturday, May 30, 2015

Summer is here at JWU, but the programs must go on!

Contributed by Kristin M. Zosa Puleo, Event and Program Coordinator


Although Summer doesn't technically start for nearly a month, it's officially begun here at JWU! Graduation was last weekend (congrats grads!), and the students have packed up and moved out for the season. Our tour business usually picks up a bit around this time of year as the K-12 schools in the area wrap up, but this month was particularly busy - we had the opportunity to welcome nearly 300 students from the New Haven, Connecticut Talented and Gifted Program. Whenever a school teacher contacts me to arrange a tour, I try to tailor each tour to fit the purpose of the field trip. Classes who visit are usually learning about topics such as technology or Rhode Island culture. With the New Haven TAG group, I was charged with the task of creating a completely interactive tour for children in grades 6-12. I do love working on a case-by-case basis with each school, but this tour was so successful, that we're going to package it as a drop-in activity as well as a regular offering for school groups (take note, teachers and caregivers)!

We split the museum into five sections in five different exhibits, and students rotated through the museum in 15-20 minute segments. At each stop, the students were given a brief tour through the exhibit. They were then given a related activity which provided the kids with an extra layer of learning. The sections are outlined below:

"Working Together - Everyone Eats, 25 Years of the Empty Bowls Project"
Event Planning, Critical Thinking 
Following their tour of the exhibit, students were asked to plan their own Empty Bowls event, using a mock-Banquet Event Order form. They were assigned four major questions:
Who will make the bowls?
What food will you serve, and who will prepare the food?
Where will your event be held?
To which organization will the proceeds be donated?

I had two major ideas in mind with this station - Students would be the event planners, something that is taught here in the classrooms at Johnson & Wales. It was also a call to action, to get the students to think about their own community, and to perhaps even be inspired to put together an Empty Bowls event in real life. Low and behold, on the day I toured this section, there were two groups who asked for more information about hosting their own event, so I hope to see at least two Empty Bowls events happen in New Haven soon. Success!

"Culinary Olympics"
Students were taught about the art of the showpiece in the bakery section of the museum, where we display the work of JWU students and chefs in the Baking and Pastry program. Students were then asked to create their own three-tier cake (or showpiece of their choice) on paper. This is not just a coloring/drawing activity. JWU students do have to show their ideas on paper before creating them in edible form.

"Culinary Beginnings"
History/Social Studies, Public Speaking
After a brief explanation of this gallery of antiquities, students were asked to divide and conquer - they were asked to pick an object on display, or even a wall graphic, and describe it. They could simply read from the label, or they could just talk about what drew them to the artifact. The great thing about this activity is that it can work on any age level. If children are not old enough to read what's on the label, they can talk about why they chose the object. It's all about the relative experience in this gallery. 

"Kitchen Stoves: From Open Hearth to the Microwave"
History/Technology, Listening/Comprehension
The students were sent on a scavenger hunt through our kitchen vignettes after their tour. They were asked to identify artifacts that were introduced by their tour guide, as well as the era to which they belonged. They were also asked to use their skills of observation to identify the different types of fuels used by the stoves on display.

"Diners: Still Cookin' in the 21st Century"
Art, Menu Design, Restaurant Design and Branding
This section of the museum was dedicated to designing a diner (a huge task for a short amount of time). In the School of Engineering and Design here at JWU, there is a class dedicated to food truck branding, it was my inspiration for this activity.

After learning about the history of the diner, and after discussing the types of foods traditionally served in diners, students were asked to team up and create their very own diner, along with one special dish. I think it's worth noting that the first group of kids missed out on their chance to stop at the local doughnut shop on the trip up to Providence, so we got a good deal of plates of doughnuts that day...

Now this is one affordable breakfast! I'm seeing home fries, eggs with ketchup, bacon, sausage, and a garnish? Is that a garnish?

Who wouldn't want this Homer Simpson-sized doughnut?

Dorothy's Diner, where the burgers are out of this world (and so are the prices)!
It's a plate of food. There's no arguing with that.

Would one get motion sickness while eating in a floating diner? I love the concept, it's definitely showy!

One thing roadside establishments need to do is get noticed. I don't think passersby could possibly miss the giant chef hat and knife! Not to mention that brightly lit sign.

After the tours, we received great feedback from the New Haven teachers, and I got some equally great feedback from our Student Assistants and staff members involved. It was a great way to bring the museum alive in a different way, and I'd like to thank my colleagues at the CAM as well as the New Haven TAG students, chaperones, and teachers for making the visits such a success!

Keep an eye out on the CAM social media for the official launch of this new program, as well as our summer edition of Project Cupcake (including one for the adults in the audience - back after popular demand)!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

CAM Holiday Updates and Happenings

contributed by Kristin M. Zosa Puleo, Event and Program Coordinator

The second trimester at JWU is underway, and in just under two short weeks, the university will close for Winter Break. Here's what's happening at the museum and on campus, and what's to come in 2015!

The teaching lab has expanded to accommodate more classes! In the space of the former Dinner at the White House exhibit, we have added a space that looks more like a classroom to accommodate presentations and lectures. On display there are the latest food truck branding projects from the talented students in Deana Marzocchi's print design class.

On Saturday, December 13, the museum will be hosting a hot chocolate bar. We are encouraging you to wear your tacky holiday sweaters and enjoy a warm beverage with your choice of toppings. This treat will be free for JWU students, staff, and faculty, and free with the cost of admission for the general public. Join us at 12pm until the hot chocolate stops flowing! RSVPs are not necessary, but feel free to visit our Facebook page to join the event, and share it with your friends!

In March 2015, we will be installing a new exhibit, in conjunction with the NCECA (National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts) conference happening in Providence. The exhibit, curated by the founders of Empty Bowls, a grassroots movement to end hunger, is a retrospective celebrating of the organization's 25 year history.

Finally, we plan to bring back Project Cupcake in 2015! Keep an eye on the social media (Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram) and your inbox for details!

One last note, the museum will be closed for Winter Break from December 20, 2014 through January 5, 2015. There's still plenty of time to visit before then, but if we don't see you, have safe and happy holidays, and have a happy new year!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

It's good to be back! Reflections on our first month back in the game.

Hello CAM community,

In case you haven't heard, we are open for business! Here's a quick refresher: In May 2013, the museum closed to conduct a comprehensive inventory of our collection. It has been estimated that our collection consists of 250,000 artifacts and printed and archival materials. Need a visual for that estimation? In 1989, Chef Louis Szathmary donated his culinary collection to Johnson & Wales University, starting the CAM as we know it today. Louis' collection was transported here from Chicago in sixteen (16!) tractor trailer trucks. Since then, we have taken donations from generous patrons, families, business, and even family businesses. We've also acquired many more materials for our various exhibitions. Needless to say, closing for this inventory project was a wonderful opportunity for us to get to know the collection better.

Now that we've reopened, our primary focus is on the curriculum here at Johnson & Wales.  We established the CAM Teaching Lab prior to our closure, and we had a couple of solid, repeat visitors who brought their culinary lab classes in to use it. In addition, we had some regular business in terms of class tours. Since we reopened on September 2, we've had 200 students who've walked through our doors as part of class visits, and many more who have come through on their own and with their families! Keep it coming, JWU!

Contrary to what some people have heard, we did not complete a renovation during the time we were closed (the inventory was certainly enough to keep our hands full). We do, however have one new exhibition and one updated exhibition. We've updated the look of our Chef's Gallery and we have included more current JWU Distinguished Visiting Chefs and celebrity chef names. Our new exhibit, Sweet Success, highlights three successful businesses: The Agora Ice Cream Parlor, Salois Dairy, and Sweenor's Chocolates. Items discovered and processed during our inventory project are also included in this exhibition.

We invite you to come visit to see what's new and to revisit our permanent displays. After hitting the ground running on September 2, we are continuing to settle into a steady pace. Be on the lookout for announcements about programming and special events at the museum.

For all the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

You may recognize these young chefs on the right, but check out our new wall of chefs!
Close-up: The green jacket was donated by Chef Lorena Garcia, '00. The apron is from Chef Derek Wagner, '99.

Updated graphics and displays for the Chef's Gallery.
Sweet Success! A wide shot of our newest exhibit.

Stained glass panel from the back bar of the Agora Ice Cream Parlor.

Bunnies Galore! A selection of chocolate moulds from the Dorothy N. Timberlake Candy and Chocolate Mould Collection. Photo of the boy and the chocolate bunny courtesy of Sweenor's Chocolates.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Pop Rocks: The "Action Food" of the future!

contributed by Kristin M. Zosa Puleo, Culinary Arts Museum Event and Program Coordinator

Hello CAM fans! Remember us? We're still here, and digging our way through our extensive inventory project. After pouring through tens of thousands (hundreds of thousands, even) of objects, books, art, and more than you could ever imagine, the museum is reopening this September, so be ready for us!

If you follow us on Facebook or Twitter, you've probably seen a few notable articles and images that I've come across. Today, I thought I'd take some time away from the counting to give a quick progress report along with today's article of interest.

This morning, in my "Future" envelope, were several issues of the newsletter "Futurific," published in the late 1970s. As you can imagine, the articles predicting what was coming up for the future were quite interesting and amusing. The craziest article I came across was predicting that there would be a floating airport built in Osaka, Japan by 1985. There was even an article about cloud-seeding (how timely for all of the conspiracy theories surrounding Atlanta's last snow/ice storm). Oh, and in 1977, the government was about to tell us all the truth about U.F.O.'s, yet Mulder and Scully were still searching for the truth in the 1990's.

Here, I share with you all an article about "Action Foods," namely, Pop Rocks. Apparently, Pop Rocks went through a testing phase in the Pacific Northwest in 1977, causing much excitement in the children who were eating them, and much fear in the parents of those children, who were worried that their kids' insides would explode from eating the carbonated sugar crystals. Read on, and enjoy! And don't miss the paragraph about the future of gas-causing foods. It is intriguing.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Today's dose of scurvy-fighting citrus history

contributed by Kristin M. Zosa Puleo, Museum Event and Program Coordinator

I'm going to go ahead and venture to guess that if you've ever worked in a bar, sat at a bar, or concocted your own beverage in which one of the main ingredients was lime juice, this bottle (above) looks quite familiar to you. Heck, even if you've never used the stuff before, you've probably seen it in your grocery store's beverage aisle (note: this company also makes grenadine, which makes for a mean Shirley Temple).

So where is this blog posting going you ask?

As you may know, we here at the museum are in the midst of a comprehensive collections inventory. For the past three months, I've had the pleasure of going through newspaper clippings, advertisements, prints, and engravings, which, for the most part, date from the mid-1800's through the mid 1900's. I've been finding some interesting material, some of which you may have seen if you follow us on Facebook and/or Twitter (and if you don't follow us, and you subscribe to such social media, then you should click on the above links and "like" or "follow" us). Earlier this week, I came across this advertisement, from the September 19, 1883 edition of a British newspaper called The Graphic:

Of course, this prompted me to hit up Google for some information. What I came across was rather interesting, so the point of this blog post is to share the wealth with you all. Enjoy!

L. Rose & Company was founded by Lauchlin Rose in Leith, Edinburgh in 1865. In 1867, Rose patented a method to preserve citrus juice and prevent fermentation without the use of alcohol. According to the Merchant Shipping Act of 1867, all ships of the Royal Navy and the Merchant Navy were required to provide a daily lime ration to sailors to prevent scurvy (fun fact: this is why British sailors are known as "limeys"). Prior to Rose's innovation, rum was used to preserve the lime juice. Needless to say, the sailors were not particularly happy about losing their rum; nevertheless, Rose's West Indian Lime Juice became a staple on board.

So there you go, Rose's Lime Juice was drunk by sailors, sans alcohol, to prevent scurvy. Think of that the next time you're whipping up a tasty margarita or gimlet! And while you're at it, share this random factoid with your friends while concocting said beverages, because who doesn't love to be that person?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Bargaining around the Dinner Table

Contributed by Richard J.S. Gutman, Director and Curator of the Culinary Arts Museum

On January 20, 2013, the date of President Obama's actual swearing-in for his second term, CBS Sunday Morning predictably included a number of presidential stories on the program.

In one segment, Jon Meacham, author of the new book Thomas Jefferson. The Art of Power, remarked that "the lesson for President Obama from Thomas Jefferson is to use the dinner table, to bring people come to the president's house...Literally, that's what Jefferson did every night Congress was in session, have dinner with members of Congress."

The course of history was changed at a Jefferson dinner party on June 20, 1790, before he became president. Jefferson, then Secretary of State, Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton and future president James Madison were at this legendary gathering where the "Dinner Table Bargain" was struck. The agenda included determining a permanent location for the capital city of the fledgling republic (New York City was then the capital of the United States) and important fiscal matters regarding assumption of all state debts by the federal government.

It is generally regarded that politics in Jefferson's time was as polarized as it is today, and when Jefferson became president, he utilized his fondness for entertaining as a political tool to bring people together for small dinner parties.

President Obama may well follow Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Meacham's advice, but the political climate today is such that when the President invited guests to the White House for a special screening of Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, with the members of the cast and crew, not a single Republican chose to attend this acclaimed homage to the first Republican president.

In the Culinary Arts Museum collection there is an invitation to dinner at Jefferson's White House, but it was used by the president as a piece of "scratch paper." He noted the schedule of Virginia mail delivery on the reverse of this card. The unused front of the invitation is illustrated on our website: On View, Dinner at the White House. Accompanying the artifact is a note: "Found at Monticello. 27 June 1827"

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Culinary and Fine Arts come together with our newest acquisition!

Contributed by Deborah Pinkham, Museum Assistant, and Kristin M. Zosa Puleo, Event and Program Coordinator

Art historians, artists and photography buffs may recognize the name Edward Steichen. Culinary collectors, stove enthusiasts and anyone who grew up in the 1930s-1940s may recognize the Ward's Medalist Range that the museum has just acquired, which is dated to 1938-1939. This very stove stood in the Connecticut home of American photographer Edward Steichen (1879-1973)!

Steichen was a founding member of the Photo-Secession, organized by fellow photographer Alfred Stieglitz in 1902. The group's gallery was housed in Steichen's portraiture gallery at 291 Fifth Avenue, which later came to be known as "291." In 1923, Steichen took a job with Conde Nast, photographing for Vogue and Vanity Fair until 1938, when he was said to have been the highest paid photographer in the world. During World War II, he joined the Navy and served as the head of the photography unit. From 1947 to 1962, Steichen became the first Director of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He also curated MoMA's famous exhibition "Family of Man" in 1955.

In 1928, Steichen purchased an abandoned farm in Redding, Connecticut and called it Umpawaug Farm. He weekended here as a retreat from his bustling New York City lifestyle. He built a modern, rectangular and mostly glass home on the property in 1938. The land was sold by Steichen to the town in 1971 to ensure its conservation.

The cast iron range is wood-fired with white porcelain enamel finish. The Art Deco style details are indicative of the time period in which it was made. The range has two warming cabinets above a cooking surface with six flat plates. the center oven is flanked by the wood box on the left and a hot water reservoir on the right. There is an additional warming drawer or "hot box" underneath the oven.