What we're about

Culinary Historians of Chicago studies the history of food and drink in human cultures. Why we procure, prepare and serve the food we do has cultural, sociological, geographical, financial and political influences. We encourage participation from all walks of life: from academics to home cooks, chefs to grill masters, farmers to heirloom gardeners, food scientists to students. Our programs, and those of our sister organization Chicago Foodways Roundtable, are supported by research, fieldwork and scholarship, though geared to an informed popular audience. We welcome everyone to gather at our table to share food, drink and their life's culinary experiences.

Upcoming events (2)

The Most Loved Room In The House: The Evolution of the American Kitchen

John Ota was a man on a mission–to put together the perfect kitchen. He and his wife had been making do with a room that was frankly no great advertisement for John’s architectural expertise. It just about did the job. But for a room that’s supposed to be the beating heart of a home and a joy to cook in, the Otas’ left a lot to be desired. And so John set out on a quest across North America, exploring examples of excellent designs throughout history, to learn from them and apply their lessons to his own renovation. Along the way, he learned about the origins and evolution of the kitchen, its architecture and its appliances. He learned too about the homes and their occupants, who range from pilgrims to President Thomas Jefferson, from turn-of-the century tenement dwellers to 21st century idealists, from Julia Child to Georgia O’Keeffe, and from Elvis Presley to Louis Armstrong. John’s talk will include photographs and drawings. His talk and his book, The Kitchen, are for cooks, homemakers, interior designers, culinary historians, and for anyone who–like John Ota before them–is looking for inspiration for a renovation. Biography: John Ota has been involved with architecture and design since 1978. He has worked in architecture offices in Toronto, New York and Vancouver and has degrees from the School of Architecture at Columbia University and the University of British Columbia. He has also written articles on architecture and design for major newspapers and magazines across Canada. He is an active member of the Culinary Historians of Canada. https://culinaryhistorians.org/the-most-loved-room-in-the-house-the-evolution-of-the-american-kitchen/

Fat Rascals: Dining at Shakespeare’s Table

Online event

If you ever wanted to see Shakespeare sizzle, now”s your chance. Join our “Zoominar” as actor/cook John Tufts dishes up an historically savory stew of Elizabethan and Tudor Culinary delights that the Bard himself whetted our appetites for in his iconic plays. A nationally acclaimed Shakespearean actor (you may have seen him perform at Chicago’s Shakespeare Theater), and a professional cook, John has written and photographed a book about his love of theater and food: “Fat Rascals: Dining at Shakespeare’s Table.” Here’s how one reviewer sums it up: “As an actor, John has the uncanny ability to make Shakespeare’s verse feel both authentic, modern and profound. His indispensable cookbook is steeped in that same zest for language. But this is more than a cookbook: it’s a time-machine, spiriting us back 400 years to a world of seasonal rhythms and communal revelry. Plus, it’s ridiculously entertaining—far more fun than any guide this substantial has a right to be. Imagine Alton Brown, Kenneth Branagh, and David Sedaris stirred into pate a choux, and you’ll have John Tufts.” —Prof. Daniel Pollack-Pelzner, contributing writer for The New York Times, The New Yorker John will take us on his time machine and help us taste our way through the past as he reveals how he researched and followed up on Shakespeare’s many food references, coming up with 150 recipes for the home cook. Recipes include pasties, salads, soups, meat, poultry, game and fish, pastries, sauces and drink. John will also put on his chef’s toque for us and demonstrate how to make “Chewets,” a mini meat pie, that he uses as his first recipe to introduce us to the food of Shakespeare. Biography: John Tufts is an actor and cook. He has cooked professionally in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Oregon. As an actor, John works on stage internationally, having played Romeo, Puck, Macbeth, Henry V and many other characters in 22 of Shakespeare’s 37 plays. For 12 years he was company member with the Tony Award-winning Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He has also worked in Chicago at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and The Goodman. Among his television work was his role on Fashions for Men on PBS Great Performances. For more information on John, and to order his book, go to his website: http://www.john-tufts.com/fatrascalsbook/fat-rascals-dining-at-shakespeares-table

Past events (179)

The Rule of Rum

Online event

Photos (54)