Monday, July 30, 2007

New Discoveries

It couldn't have been more exciting. I mean that discovery of a great work of art where you least expect it. Amid the cast iron pots and pans and silver tea pots, all of which were fun and wonderful, was a person carrying a cup and saucer bearing the hand painted landscape by a noted artist. This was obviously a gift and not a mass produced item. It was a pleasure to be have had just a little bit to do with its discovery.

Thanks to everyone who came. Special thanks to Pepper Brown and Steve Clayton, who talked, and examined and valued, with great authority. Thanks to Savvy Gourmet for the space to do this appropriately. Thanks to all of you who are pack rats and collectors or just those who treasure things from your family. Without you hording your mementos, museums would not exist.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Lots of Activity

I am very excited about our Culinary Roadshow tomorrow. Thanks to Pepper Brown and Stephen Clayton from Mathew Clayton Brown and the folks from Savvy Gourmet, all of us who have mystery items from kitchens and dining rooms of our parents and grand parents or have great garage sale finds, can have them identified. Not only will we be able to find out what these things are, but we can get at least an idea of their value.

I am looking forward to a room full of gadgets or pictures of interesting large, nonportable items, that will be like an anthropological experiment. And I can just imagine the conversations of those people standing in line. The stories that go with the items. I look forward to a day of meeting people and being amazed with the diversity of the kitchen.

It will be the place to be tomorrow. And I will be reporting on the oddities that we encounter on the kitchen expedition.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


I spent the last few days attending the fifth Tales of the Cocktail, an annual event celebrating spirits, their history and exploring what is new in the cocktail world. There were seminars on the influence of women in spirit's history, the impact of ice and refrigeration, matching music and drinks, and many more. As with any event in New Orleans, there was plenty of great food as well. But what stood out most in my mind from these past 4 days was the response I would get when I asked people why they were here. Everyone from journalists to distributers all said they had heard it was professionally a great place to be. If you wanted to meet everyone in the industry, this was one of the top five events in the western world. As someone who is used to walking or driving through my city and seeing what I call the "T-Shirts", those volunteers who cme from all over the country to help rebuild my city, this answer was suprising and heartening. While there is still a tremendous amount of work to be done here, I was glad to hear that most people's motivations to come for this conference were the old reasons: I'm here for work and I'm here to have a good time. Not one word about support or recovery. And that was nice.

Inspite of most attendees' motivations to visit, it was still reassuring to know that the city's rebuilding process has not been forgotten. Absolut Vodka held a press conference the first day of the conference and announced the release of a new vodka: Absolut New Orleans. All of the proceeds of the sale will benefit 5 Gulf Coast charities, including the Tipatina's Musician's Fund and Habitat for Humanity. I always suspected that liquor would rebuild this city. It certainly has a more reliably productive presence here than the government...

Monday, July 16, 2007

New Partners

It is always exciting to talk to people about SoFAB. It is even more than exciting, when they get excited too. That is what happened today at a great meeting at the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University at Thibodaux, LA. Meeting with Assistant Dean, Anne Parr, we created many bridges to a very promising long-term partnership. I can imagine easily research and exhibit partnerships. We laid that groundwork today. But I can see opportunities to work with students, create new programs and to build a future together - each institution growing stronger with the support of the other.

I am also looking forward to the Culinary Roadshow we are planning on July 28 at Savvy Gourmet. I know that all of the interesting things that people have in their closets will find their way into Savvy Gourmet. What a terrific way for people to have fun, learn a little something about their possessions and to visit with other people who are also interested in culinary gizmos.
Our culinary camp will get into gear in August. We are also planning the Invitation to the Memphis Table to be held at the Inn at Hunt Phelan in Memphis. This is taking place in September. So much is happening and we aren't open yet. Just wait until we are open!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

credit cards

I am wondering when I will be able to have a conversation and not mention the food museum. Never? Today I tried to have lunch with a friend who is moving away, and even though we talked about our boyfriends, we only did that at the end, at her insistance. Instead of sharing our lives, she shared technology tips, for both me and the museum. I have been considering making the leap into buying a blackberry, especially since I am planning all of these fundraisers across the country, and Bridget had lots of advice about them . Also, since the museum now needs to be able to take people's money on the spot at all of these dinners, we need to embrace wireless credit card machies. She directed me to the Market Umbrella, home of the Crescent City Farmer's Market, which has already done some of the research for us and I think we will bite the bullet soon and buy a machine and set up that system. Also, I think this weekend, I will tromp out to the Alltell store and see what they have to offer. I am not terribly excited about this next step, as I have been trying to make my life less consumed by my job, but maybe instead it will help me get a handle on all the tasks and give me more time. Time I can use, for example, to write this blog. And needing to get all of these tasks organized means there are an awful lot of them, which means things are rocking along with the museum, and maybe that is why I cannot quit talking about it.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

What Do YOU Want?

As we are busily trying to invent this new museum, we spend a lot of time thinking about what we want to see in a food and beverage museum. We already have created a good bit of what we have thought about. Right now, one of our exhibits, Restaurant/Restorative, is being readied for shipment to Chicago. It will be open there in August. From there it travels to New York. It means that what we have imagined is coming true.

We have lots more to imagine. Right now we are talking about keeping this exhibit current by focusing on one restaurant that has lots of meaning to the City of New Orleans, Dunbar's. This historic restaurant was flooded and the owners are operating out of the Loyola University cafeteria. That is true grit. We are planning to make their progress a part of our exhibit and show you on our website.

But ultimately we need to know what you want and expect from the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. Do you want recipes, programs, more traveling exhibits that come to your area, a magazine, more web activities? We need to know. Please let us know!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

full time future

When I started dating my beau, Bill, I know that many of my friends breathed a sigh of relief that now, finally, I would have something else to talk about besides the food museum. And they were right, to a degree. Building an institution is a consuming, exhilerating task and they have heard every detail, and often been corraled into "volunteering" in a variety of ways to get exhibits up, facilitate meetings, proofread text, you name it, they've helped out. So it was with genuine enthusiasm that tonight, some of my good buddies all toasted my moving into a full time position with the museum starting next month. It is something I have been working toward since early 2004 and it not only gives me a tremendous sense of acomplishment, but also confims that the museum is growing stronger than ever. We are all truly on the road to success.