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(August 9, 2019- February 2, 2020)
Explore the rich and diverse history of Tennessee’s food through Let’s Eat! Origins and Evolutions of Tennessee Food. Whether barbecued, fried, roasted, pickled, or chilled, the food of Tennessee, and the southern United States, is a meeting of Southeastern Indian, West European, and West African cultural groups. Many cooks, who were primarily women, took the proteins, vegetables, and cooking traditions of each group, then experimented, taste-tested, and created delicious meals. The evolution of Tennessee food continues as foreign-born recent arrivals inspire new flavors. The exhibition is presented through eight sections that trace the state’s food from its Southeastern Indian origins to contemporary food festival celebrations. All are complemented by artifacts from the Museum’s collection, digital storytelling, graphics, and location photography. *Please Note: There is NO edible food in the exhibition. But since you will walk away hungry, we recommend visiting our friends at the Nashville Farmers' Market and throughout the neighborhood, and then taking off on a road trip throughout the state.
Recipes featured in the videos in the exhibition can be found at this link in our Stories section.
Upcoming Let's Eat! Events:
Sat., August 24, 2019
Family Day: Fun, Food and Family
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Bring your friends and family to this free event and learn about the rich and diverse history of Tennessee's food. There will be demonstrations, arts, crafts and other engaging programs throughout the day.
Sun., September 7-8, 2019
Experience West Tennessee Food
Overnight Bus Trip
Join us for our first overnight “Experience Tennessee Bus Trip” to Memphis. The tour will include visits to the National Civil Rights Museum, Stax Museum of American Soul Music and more. Along the way we will sample local barbeque, soul food and other local culinary delights that define the unique West Tennessee cuisine. Hotel, museum admission, and meals included in ticket. Info on how to register TBA.
Wed., September 18, 2019
Lunch & Learn: Tasting Tennessee, A Culinary Tour of the Volunteer State
12 to 1 p.m.
What defines Tennessee cuisine? Join us as we explore places to eat across the state that distinguishes the unique local flavors that certain regions are known for. The discussion will be led by Rob DeHart, curator of the temporary exhibition, Let’s Eat!: Origins and Evolutions of Tennessee Food. From barbecued ham and buttermilk in the east to soul food and slugburgers in the west, this program is guaranteed to make you hungry. So bring a “made in Tennessee” themed lunch to the event and enjoy the presentation while you eat.
Saturday, September 21, 2019
In Conversation: Tandy Wilson, Erin Byers Murray and Keitlyn Alcantara
Join Tandy Wilson, Erin Byers Murray, Keitlyn Alcantara and moderator Rob DeHart for a conversation and Q&A about food, heritage and culture. While free, the Museum’s “In Conversation” events are some of its most popular. To secure your seat, reservations are required. Please register with the link provided:
Thursdays, October 3-24, 2019
Let’s Eat! Food Forum Classes
A unique pairing of tasting and lecture that only a history museum could devise, the Tennessee State Museum presents a one-of-a-kind series of classes focused on the history and origins of Tennessee’s food traditions.
Sat., October 5, 2019
Experience East Tennessee Food
One Day Bus Trip
We hit the road again, this time to experience the tastes of East Tennessee. Highlights of this trip include a tour of Benton’s Smokey Mountain Country Hams, sampling old fashioned ice cream and much more. Info on how to register TBA.