The Arkansas State Archives, along with the Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, is pleased to announce the sixth annual Arkansas foodways symposium from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute at the University of Arkansas – Pulaski Technical College at 13000 Interstate 30 in Little Rock.
“Our annual foodways symposium celebrates the historical, cultural diversity in Arkansas by showcasing our state’s rich heritage through food,” said Julienne Crawford, curator and interim director of the Arkansas State Archives. “We are thrilled to focus this year’s symposium on the fascinating history and delicious foods of Greek communities in Arkansas.”
The foodways symposium’s theme is “Opa! A History of Greek Foodways” with a free lunch prepared and served by students and staff at the college’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute. This year’s event will include presentations by Jeanne Spencer on the History of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church and Gus Vratsinas on the Little Rock’s Greek Food Festival. Eva Sargant and Peri Leak will demonstrate preparing Greek pastries.
The event is free, but seating is limited. Seats must be reserved by Sept. 10. Tickets are available at https://www.eventbrite.com/o/arkansas-state-archives-18255509263 or by calling 501-682-6900.
Teachers can earn up to three professional development credit hours by attending the event.
The annual foodways symposiums, which the Arkansas State Archives organizes, connect hundreds of people with Arkansas’s culture, history and food every year. Special speakers talk about the history of the food and the communities from which they came, chefs demonstrate cooking techniques and the ethnic-themed lunch brings audiences taste-experiences.
Past symposiums include: Everything Old is New Again: The Arkansas Foodways Movement (2014,) The Roots of African American Foodways in Arkansas (2015,) Southern Fried Schnitzel: German Food and Culture in Arkansas (2016,) Fruit of the Vine: Arkansas’s Italian Communities and Foodways (2017) and From China’s Farmland to Arkansas’s Delta: A History of Arkansas’s Chinese Immigrants (2018).
The symposiums allow Arkansans the chance to see history through food and to discuss influential ethnic groups” said Stacy Hurst, secretary of the department, director of the Division of Arkansas Heritage and state historic preservation officer. Food is of tremendous historical importance because it is a window into how people lived and a connection to our past, she said. “Food plays a central role in how people identify themselves. Food reveals where we came from and who we are,” Hurst said. “It’s important to preserve our food heritage and, thereby, preserve our unique culture, history and identity — that’s exactly what our Foodways Symposium does.”