Kitchen Conversations Fall 2016


1959 Kitchen Cropped II - narrowFriday, November 18, 7:00pm

“Cliveden’s 1959 Mid-Century Modern Kitchen” with John Carr, Principal with Materials Conservation, LLC

Reservations REQUIRED. Click HERE to reserve or call 215-848-1777, x 223.

Suggested donation: $15 – includes light meal or tasting by Chef Valerie Erwin


talkAbout the Cliveden Conversations

The award winning public speaking forum at Cliveden’s Carriage House brings regional and national guest speakers to ignite conversation in our diverse community for intellectual, and often emotional, discussions on race, history, and memory in Philadelphia.

  • The discussions continue in Fall 2016 with a focus on Kitchens as an indicator of social change.

  • Cliveden Conversations are free and open to the public. Donations are accepted.

  • For Kitchen Conversations that include food, reservations are required.

Past Kitchen Conversations:

“Coming to Terms with Slavery’s Kitchen-Quarters” with Doug Sanford, Ph.D., April 15, 2016

Doug Sanford discussed kitchen-quarters, slave households, and how African Americans transformed these buildings and their surrounding yards into important spaces for family and community.  He will also speak about Virginia Slave Housing project’s efforts to promote public awareness of the architecture of American slavery. The evening included a light meal of Ham Biscuits with assorted condiments including Pimento Cheese & Hot Pepper Jelly, and Raisin Bread Pudding prepared by Chef Valerie Erwin.

“The Food Axis: Cooking, Eating, and 1950s Domestic Architecture” with Elizabeth Cromley, Ph.D., Friday, March 11, 2016

Professor Cromley illustrated the evolution of the cooking and dining parts of American houses from earlier 20th century patterns to the new ideas of the 1950s. Changes in family eating patterns, furnishings for dining and kitchen spaces, cooking and preserving food, new tastes in materials and colors, and inventions in foodways all contributed to a sense of modernity.

“The Cup That Cheers: Drinking in the 18th Century” with Dr. Gretchen Sorin, December 4, 2015, 

Cliveden hosted Dr. Gretchen Sorin, Director and Distinguished Professor of Museum Studies of the Cooperstown Graduate Program. Dr. Sorin talked about drinking habits in the 18th century. We learned that the Chew family, founding fathers, and their peers would have chosen to drink spirituous beverages rather than water because clean drinking water was a rarity. As part of the program, Dr. Sorin led a wine tasting complete with period accurate crackers made by the Germantown Youth Volunteers.

“Cookin’ for the Big House: Slavery, Race, Gender, & the Kitchen Axis” with Dr. Kelley Deetz, November 20, 2015

Dr. Kelley Deetz  presented a lecture on her book Virginia’s Enslaved Plantation Cooks and their Kitchens. Dr. Deetz is the Research Associate for the President’s Commission on Slavery and the University at the University of Virginia. This Kitchen Conversation focused on the social dynamics of entertainment, feasting, and the labor demands from multiple perspectives. To emphasize connections with trade in enslaved people and the Caribbean, a Caribbean meal of jerk chicken, rice & peas, cabbage and banana pudding was prepared by the K & J Caribbean American Diner, a family owned business at 5603 Greene Street in Germantown.

“They Lived Where They Worked” with Joe McGill, October 30, 2015

Joe McGill is the founder of The Slave Dwelling Project, Inc. and came to Cliveden to talk about his experiences and sleep in the 1767 Kitchen Dependency–that’s right, sleep! Mr. McGill conducts his research by sleeping in slave dwellings, to date in 15 states. The purpose of his research is to better understand and bring attention to the remaining living spaces used by enslaved people. The event included a buffet of South Carolina Geechee cuisine by Chef Valerie Erwin, owner of the Geechee Girl Cafe formerly in Mt. Airy.