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Stories behind the food

Smithsonian traveling exhibit begins state tour at county museum

Smithsonian traveling exhibit begins state tour at county museum

June 21, 2007|by JULIE E. GREENE

Bill Knode says it was natural for his grandmother to have made him an apron when he was an infant, for everyone in his family wore one.

"My grandmother, I never saw her without an apron. My mother of course wore an apron most of the time at home. My dad worked at the (Hagerstown) shoe company and he had an apron which he wore at work, of course," says Knode, 74, of Hagerstown.

Knode's little white canvas waist apron will be part of the local portion of a Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibit that is beginning a Maryland tour Saturday at the Washington County Rural Heritage Museum. The exhibit will be at the museum, south of Hagerstown, through Saturday, Aug. 4.

"Key Ingredients: America by Food" is a history of American food, from food related to Native Americans to the people of different ethnicities who have immigrated to America, says Dorry Baird Norris, co-chairwoman for the local exhibit.


The exhibit features artifacts and stories about food, such as why certain foods are associated with certain regions, says Jean Wortman, program officer with the Maryland Humanities Council, which is bringing the exhibit to six sites in Maryland. It also explains how food is grown, harvested and distributed.

The exhibit includes interactive displays, such as a large Wisconsin cheesehead that people can try on, Wortman says.

Each display site adds its own flavor.

The Rural Heritage Museum will host a series of lectures and activities and will have displays about the local region's food history with the Smithsonian exhibit.

"Our contribution is the German component because there were so many German settlers here," Norris says. "Our food ways are German food ways," which include slippery potpie, ponhaus and puddin. That's because people raised hogs, which grow quickly and have short pregnancies, so it was meat that was readily available, Norris says.

Activities include story hours in which local residents can share memories related to an apron in their family.

The aprons collected so far from local residents include ones used in the kitchen as well as industrial aprons such as factory aprons worn during the world wars, Norris says.

Visitors to the exhibit may bring recipes with local flavor to add to the traveling exhibit, and the recipes might be added to the exhibit's Web site, Norris says.

If you go ...

WHAT: "Key Ingredients: America by Food"

WHEN: Opens Saturday, June 23, noon to 4 p.m., and runs through Saturday, Aug. 4. Museum hours during this exhibit are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays; 9 a.m. to noon and 4 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays; noon to 6 p.m. Fridays; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays; and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.

WHERE: Washington County Rural Heritage Museum at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center, 7313 Sharpsburg Pike, 8 miles south of Interstate 70

COST: Free

MORE: For more information, call 240-313-2839. Refreshments will be served at Saturday's opening.

"Washington County" lecture series

· 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 27 - "First Foods From Field, Forest and Stream" by Denny Warrenfeltz of Rooster Vane Gardens

· 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 11 - "The Heritage of the City Farmer's Market" by market vendors Ted and Colleen Garringer

· 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 18 - "Hardtack and Coffee - the Civil War by Food" by Keven Walker, Antietam Cultural Resource specialist

· 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 25 - "Fellowship and Fundraising - community meals for profit" with Rayetta Murray, moderator

· 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 1 - "Your Food - Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow," moderated by Jeff Semler, extension educator for the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension in Washington County

Activities during the "Key Ingredients" exhibit include:

· Garden Days, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, June 28, through Saturday, June 30. Learn about the museum's Four Square Garden and antique garden tools exhibit.

· Hearth Cooking in the Cabin, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 30.

· Second Sunday in the Garden, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, July 8. Learn about heirloom plants.

· Cookbooks, Coffee and Conversation, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, July 10. Meet local authors and organizations that have published cookbooks. Local cookbooks will be sold. German-themed refreshments. Antique cookbooks on display.

· Who Wears the Apron? 7 p.m. Friday, July 13. Bring your favorite apron and share its story.

· Who Wore the Apron? story hour, 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 24. Local residents share stories associated with their families' aprons.

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