Related Events

A Deep Dive into the History of Beer (with Samples)!

at Surly Brooklyn Center Brewery on Saturday October 19, 2019 (3:30-5:15pm)

Cocharelli, Leaves from a prose treatise on the Seven Vices (f. 1) and a verse on events from the history of Sicily in the time of Frederick II (1298-1337) (ff. 2-7) Italy, N. W. (Genoa); c. 1330 – c. 1340 British Library. Additional 27695 f. 14

Anyone interested in attending, will need to register beforehand:

Theresa McCulla will deliver a half hour talk on  “Archiving Craft: Collecting American Beer’s Recent Past and Present” detailing an initiative at the American Brewing History at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History constructing a new archive of American beer and brewing history. Emphasizing the twentieth-century stories of homebrewing and microbrewed—or “craft”—beer, this research and collecting initiative is assembling objects, documents, and oral histories to preserve the history of a contemporary phenomenon, especially surrounding ephemeral experiences of consumption and taste. This talk will outline the history of the craft beer revolution, a revival of artisan brewing techniques and styles whose impact has rippled across social, economic, and gastronomic realms. It will also present new research on early homebrewing clubs, computing clubs, and the entrepreneurial and intellectual “ferment” of northern California in the 1970s. 

Theresa McCulla, Ph.D., is Curator of the American Brewing History Initiative at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, where she is building an archive of the history of homebrewing and craft beer in the United States. Previously, she worked for Harvard University Library, Harvard University Dining Services, and the Central Intelligence Agency. McCulla earned a PhD in American Studies and an MA in History from Harvard University, a Culinary Arts Diploma from the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, and a BA in Romance Languages from Harvard College. She is writing a book (under contract with the University of Chicago Press) about the history of food and race in New Orleans.

Following Dr. McCulla’s talk, Omar Ansari, founder and owner of Surly will join Ben Smith (head brewer at Surly), Jace Marti (brewmaster at Schells), and Doug Hoverson, author of Land of Amber Waters: The History of Brewing in Minnesota for a panel discussion on beer, brewing and brewers, yesterday and today.

Surly and Schells Brewery will be brewing small batches of “historical” beers from recipes in the University of Minnesota archives.

This event is part of the Premodern Food Cultures conference organized by the Center for Medieval Studies, the James Ford Bell Library, and the Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine. For more information, see:

MIA Panel: The Sabbath Now

at the Minneapolis Institute of Art on Sunday October 20, 2019

Michelle M. Hamilton, Director of CMS, will join fiber artist Norma Minkowitz for a conversation about her artistic practice and festive foods in Jewish Sabbath (Shabbat) traditions now and in the past. After our conversation, Rabbi Alexander Davis will demonstrate techniques for braiding traditional bread, or challah. This will be followed by a reception in the Regis Fountain Court for coffee and challah. This event celebrates Mia’s recent acquisition of Minkowitz’s sculpture The Sabbath Now, which depicts common elements within contemporary Sabbath celebrations. This sculpture is on view in Gallery 362 until June 7, 2020.
Minkowitz’s work, particularly The Sabbath Now, invites the viewer to reflect on the significance of food, ritual and art in the celebration of holidays, both in their own experience and within communities. The conversation will be taking place on the last day of the festival of Sukkot, a Jewish holiday celebrated by the making of a booth and special meals commemorating the harvest. Hamilton’s explores how foodways and other aspects of material culture have been constructed in various contexts in the Jewish Diaspora.

Sukkot, Textiles, Feasting in Premodern Spain/Mexico

Traditionally celebrated with palm, myrtle, willow and citron, Sukkot is known as the Feast of the Booths or Tabernacles, celebrated five days after the major fast day of Yom Kippur. In the Sephardic tradition there is a strong connection between textiles, feasting and Sukkot. In the face of the Inquisition and in order to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, but also to evade notice, the conversa and Jewish women in fifteenth-century Spanish and Portuguese towns loaned their finest rugs and fabrics to the community, who constructed sukkot/celebratory booths for the holiday, within which people would gather to eat a fine meal in communal celebration. David Gitlitz has even found that descendants of Iberian Jews managed to celebrate Sukkot in the Inquisition prisons in Mexico. On Sept. 21, 1603 Sebastián Rodríguez was joined by his family in prison awaiting trial. They had four wagon loads of willow branches brought in and decorated the patio and hallways of the prison. They set up tables and had a meal at the front of the room. One dish included “Mexican fowl stuffed with eggs and salt pork” (Gitlitz Secrey and Deceit p. 375). After the meal there was singing and dancing. The celebration of Sukkot continued for centuries among the descendants of Iberian Jews. In seventeenth-century Mallorca it was celebrated by eating stewed beans and roast chicken. And in twentieth-century New Mexico, the festival of booths (jacales) was celebrated in the fall by people who had no memory of their Jewish heritage (372).

For more on how Sukkot has been celebrated through the centuries in the Iberian world and elsewhere around the world see:

  • David Gitlitz. Secrecy and Deceit: The Religion of the Crypto-Jews. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1996. 
  • United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Libbey Sansanowicz. “Members of a Zionist collective in Lithuania celebrate the holiday of Sukkot.”1938. Lithuania.
  • Julia Moskin “Cooking Defines Sephardic Jews at Sukkot” NY Times Oct. 11 2006
  • David Z. Moster. Etrog: How A Chinese Fruit Became a Jewish Symbol. Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.
  • Marc Chagall. “The Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot. 1917.” painting. 
  • “The East London Sukkah” 20-29 September 2010. Spitalfields City Farm. Buxton Street. London E1 5AR. United Kingdom. (Ethical Eating, Food Production)
  • Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue. “Sukkah x Detroit” September 23-30, 2018. Detroit Design Festival Month of Design.  (architectural competition for sukkot design)

Norma Minkowitz is a Connecticut-based fiber artist best known for her intricate crochet sculptures. Rabbi Alexander Davis joins us from Beth El Synagogue in St. Louis Park.

$10; $5 My Mia members, free for members of the Decorative Arts, Textiles & Sculpture Affinity Group. Tickets available August 8.

Free for College & University Students. Register by email only to with your name and university. Pick up a ticket in the Fountain Court. 

Generous support provided by Harold and Mickey Smith Endowment for Jewish Arts.