Southern Food and Beverage Museum: In Praise of Louisiana Cuisine
Explore the food and drink traditions surrounding Louisiana cuisine history.
Louisiana’s cuisine will always be front and center when discussing Southern cuisine. You could spend a lifetime exploring our culinary nuances one bite or one dish at a time, but you might not ever be able to check off all the incredible culinary experiences to be had. To get a glimpse of just how deep Louisiana’s food culture goes, take a trip to the Southern Food and Beverage Museum.
The Southern Food & Beverage Museum opened in 2008 and is a shrine to Louisiana cuisine and the cultural and historic influences that have shaped these Louisiana dishes, along with other culinary traditions of the south.
From barbecue to gumbo, the museum’s exhibits showcase topics such as the Acadian migration, Caribbean influences on Creole cuisine, heritage of Louisiana shrimpers and Southern cuisine beyond Louisiana. The exhibits provide so much to see – walls lined with different cans and bottles, old kitchens and stoves, vintage cookware, product containers, spices, signage and other artifacts that tell the story of the food of Louisiana and the south.
The location also contains a museum within a museum. One of the galleries serves as the official Museum of the American Cocktail. This is fitting, says museum director Liz Williams, because New Orleans has perhaps the most vigorous cocktail culture in the United States, and by some accounts even invented the cocktail. The absinthe gallery, a significant piece of New Orleans' drinking history, showcases the drink’s wild history with detailed documentation, posters, artifacts from artists, writers and poets inspired by their encounters of the “green fairy,” delicate glassware and beautiful absinthe fountains.
At the Southern Food & Beverage Museum, you’ll learn the story of the po-boy, crawfish, beignets, gumbo and the famous Sazerac cocktail. So when you sit down to eat and drink, you know what you’re eating and why it exists. “For the visitors from out-of-state, we should be an early stop,” Williams says, “so that they can really appreciate the food in this city and the state.” The museum even offers cooking classes and demonstrations so visitors can learn and interact even more.