Winter Speaker Series: Paul Freedman

February 22, 2020 2:00 pm Griswold House

"The Ten Restaurants That Changed America"

Paul Freedman, Author and Chester D. Tripp Professor of History at Yale University

“Is there such a thing as an American cuisine?” “If so, what is it?”

What were the restaurants in America that most influenced food trends and how we dine out socially?

Freedman’s top ten selections weren’t limited to the “best” restaurants, but rather on those that had the most impact. So, alongside such iconic establishments as Chez Panisse in Berkeley or Delmonico’s in New York, sits the roadside chain restaurant Howard Johnson’s, and Schrafft’s, a place that catered to women unescorted by men. Freedman suggests that three things historically characterize food in our country: regionalism (which Rhode Island has preserved better than most), modernity (processed foods, convenience, supermarkets) and variety (both in the proliferation of products and flavors and the popularity of international restaurants). Join us for an entertaining and illuminating look at the evolution of the American palette, the culture of dining out, and what “American Cuisine” might really mean.

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Paul Freedman is a professor of history at Yale University where he has taught since  1997. His doctoral degree was awarded in 1978 by UC Berkeley. His interests are in the Middle Ages the history of food and cuisine. His book, Ten Restaurants that Changed America, a way of looking at US food history through ten examples, was published in September, 2016 and featured on a number of media including CBS Sunday Morning, All Things Considered, Marketplace, New York Times and PBS News Hour.

In 2007 Freedman edited Food: The History of Taste, which won a prize from the International Association of Culinary Professionals and  was nominated for a James Beard award. It has been translated into ten languages.

His book, American Cuisine and How It Got This Way will appear in October 2019.

Thank you to our generous sponsors:

Lee C. Bakalarski
Lockett Ford Ballard, Jr., in memory of Canon Lockett Ford Ballard & Charlotte Carr Morrinson Ballard

Johanna and Ronald Becker
Mary Jennings
Cynthia Sinclair
Kathleen Shinners
The Hope Foundation

This event is made possible by your support of the Annual Fund.

Thank you to the Winter Speaker Series Committee

Johanna Becker, Chairwoman
Bruce Amand
Cristin Searles Bilodeau, Director of Community Engagement
Eleanor Doumato
Richard Hunt
Anne DeBose Joslin
Susan Kieronski
Kathleen Shinners