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Colonial Foodways Dinner Supported by Research by Morris S. “Buzz” Arnold

Historic Arkansas Museum - Thursday, April 05, 2018

Colonial Foodways Dinner Supported by Research by Morris S. “Buzz” Arnold 

Tonight, HAM will host the second dinner in the “History is Served: Arkansas Foodways Dinner Series,” which focuses on the French and Spanish influences on Arkansas cooking. The dinner, part of the Arkansas Foodways Initiative, is the second of four history-inspired dinners, which each celebrate a unique food tradition in Arkansas history.

The dinner will be prepared by Chef Mary Beth Ringgold, the executive chef of Cajun’s Wharf, Capers and Copper Grill. Taking inspiration from French and Spanish food and table traditions of the 18th century, she will prepare a four-course dinner that rekindles specific colonial dishes and ingredients to create this modern interpretation of a historical dinner.

A key resource for preparing the menu came from the research of former federal judge and historian, Morris S. “Buzz" Arnold, who has authored numerous books and articles on Arkansas’s colonial history.

Judge Arnold’s work in the colonial era began in the 1980s when he discovered that not only was there a lack of material on the subject, but also there wasn’t a “general appreciation” of the period from previous histories. Seeing an opportunity to expand on the history of Arkansas, he took on the monumental task of conducting the research that would present a deeper understanding of the time:

I started looking around all over the place for stuff and found tens [of] thousands of pages of letters in Paris and in Seville (Spain) in the archives that were written to, from or about [the] Arkansas Post in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth centuries. So I first wrote a couple of little articles about it - some about the local stuff, and then I started expanding it… It occurred to me, perhaps, that I actually might make a book out of this.

Arnold will be the guest speaker tonight and will illuminate guests on Arkansas’s colonial period and how understanding the colonist’s relationship to food, dining and tradition tells us so much about who they were and what they valued.

Though the dinner is sold-out, there are plenty of opportunities to learn about Colonial Arkansas, including HAM’s vast material collection, archival holdings, and its permanent exhibit: “We Walk in Two Worlds: The Caddo, Osage & Quapaw in Arkansas.”