The Potato and The Civil War: Two Separate But Savory Culinary Histories

The Potato and The Civil War: Two Separate But Savory Culinary Histories

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What do the Civil War and the potato have in common? Not much really—except that our renowned speaker, Andrew Smith, has written two soon-to-be published books on each subject: Starving the South: How the North Won the Civil War, and Potato: A Global History. And now he’s hungering to dish his special brand of culinary history for us..

Be forewarned: An author of more than 30 books on culinary history, Mr. Smith, who is also editor of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, has appeared before the Culinary Historians of Chicago more than any other speaker in our 17-year history. We savor his words!

Here’s what’s on the menu:

First course: Andy Smith will ask if hunger defeated the Confederacy. He’ll take a gastronomical look at the war and its legacy. From the first shot fired at Fort Sumter to the surrender of the Confederacy in April 1865, food–or its absence–played a crucial role in how the war was fought and its outcome and how we eat and drink today.

Second course: Mr. Smith will peel into the rags-to-riches story of the potato, examining how this once lowly vegetable changed––and continues to change––the world. Alas, the potato is now suffering negative publicity as its health benefits are debated more than ever (think greasy French fry). But don’t pour salt on the spud’s reputation just yet. Andy Smith will hash out what’s in store for this international staple that the French poetically refer to as “apple of the earth.”

Cost of the lecture program is $5 for nonmembers, $3 for students, and no charge for CHC members. To reserve, please call David Farris at 312-286-8785 or e-mail your reservation to

Please note: an RSVP is required. Seating is limited and CHC members will receive priority consideration if they RSVP by March 19. If you have RSVP’d and cannot make it, please call and let us know.