Serving Up Local Food History-May 3rd

Page archived as of November 23, 2015

Saturday, May 3rd 1:30-5 PM

Food Symposium-JellycakeThe Lyceum’s second Food History Symposium will bring together local scholars, chefs, historians, and entrepreneurs to examine some of the foods and food topics that make up Alexandria’s culinary past.  The program will take place on Saturday, May 3rd, from 1:30 to 5 PM, in the Lecture Hall of The Lyceum --- Alexandria’s History Museum.  The $50 registration fee includes four presentations by local food historians and business people, a post-symposium book signing, and a tasting of Shuman’s famous Jelly Cake.

This year’s presentations are:

• A World of Eating in Early Alexandria --- An overview of the many ways that food connected the people of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Alexandria to the larger world; talk given by Amanda Moniz, professional historian and former pastry chef, as well as author of the culinary history blog, History’s Just Desserts (;

• A Taste, A Memory:  Shuman's Jelly Cake --- For many Alexandrians, nothing is more evocative of gatherings with family and friends than a taste of Shuman's Jelly Cake, a tradition in Alexandria since 1876; presentation by Patrick Hagan, managing partner of Shuman’s Bakery, and direct descendant of Louis P. Shuman, who started the bakery over 130 years ago;

• Vegetarian Ideas and Vegetarian Food in Nineteenth Century America --- Through the Civil War, the vegetarian movement focused on social and political reform, but by the late nineteenth century the movement became a path for personal strength and success, which led to greater acceptance of vegetarianism within mainstream society.  Adam Schprintzen, Digital and Archival Historian at the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon, discusses his book The Vegetarian Crusade: The Rise of an American Reform Movement, and signs copies afterward;

• Alexandria’s First Family of Beer --- Then & Now --- Once the largest industrial enterprise in the city, Robert Portner’s brewery occupied several blocks along the east side of Washington Street, and his innovations included the use of refrigerated boxcars.  Margaret and Catherine Portner, great-great-granddaughters of Robert, survey the history of the brewery as well as their own plans for re-establishing the Portner name on the local brewing landscape.

The cost of the program is $50 per person, and advance registration is highly encouraged.  To make a reservation, please visit the Historic Alexandria Museum Store site and look for “Food History Symposium” or order over the phone by calling The Lyceum at (703) 746-4994.