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"The Legacy of African Americans" was the theme of the fourth and final dinner of the 2018 History Is Served: Arkansas Foodways Dinner Series, hosted by Little Rock's Historic Arkansas Museum. The event took place Nov. 15.

Dinner guests mingled and had cocktails in the museum lobby and viewed a display associated with the dinner, examining the history, culture and cuisine of black people in Arkansas. After seeing a short film related to the dinner theme, they went upstairs to enjoy the meal. Each guest received a recipe-filled program that also outlined the influence of cooks of African descent in Arkansas' gustatory history.

Sharing introductory remarks were Swannee Bennett, director and chief curator, and Evette Brady, onetime owner of the former 1620 Restaurant. Brady -- who mentioned that she has always seen herself as a cook, not a chef -- teamed up with her nephew, chef Tim Morton, to serve up a multicourse meal that began with an appetizer of country duck pate with pickled turnips and smoked onion tomato jam. This was followed by a bowl of Hopping John with grilled okra; then Hot Smoked Trout with jalapeno cheddar corn pone and braised collard greens. Making up the main course was braised oxtail with charred cauliflower, candied yam puree and natural gravy. The dessert, Possum Pie, was much tastier than its name indicates.

Debuting this year and sponsored by Ben E. Keith Foodservice Distributors, the Arkansas Foodways quarterly dinners took a look at four influences in Arkansas cuisine and delved into the food history of each. The previous dinner themes: Pre-Colonial Arkansas; Colonial Arkansas -- French and Spanish Colonists; and Territorial Arkansas -- Spanish and German Settlers.

Gallery: "The Legacy of African Americans” dinner

High Profile on 12/02/2018

Print Headline: Historical perspectives: Arkansas Foodways Dinner Series covers African culinary influences

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