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Black Pepper: Taste a Revolutionary Story

Wednesday, November 16, 2016 - 5:30pm to 7:30pm
Members $40
Credit Lovely Valentine

Black Pepper

Taste a Revolutionary Story

Participants at this tasting event will learn first-hand about the history of black pepper in American cuisine and its surprising connections to the city of Boston. Historian and food blogger Sarah Lohman will expose black pepper’s role in American cuisine, a theme in her forthcoming book, Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine. Guests will savor a signature cocktail created by mixologist Josey Packard, followed by three hors d'oeuvres showcasing black pepper by Chef Michael Zentner.

Historic gastronomist Sarah Lohman began working in a museum at the age of 16, cooking historic food over a wood-burning stove. Lohman moved to New York in 2006 to work for New York Magazine’s food blog, Grub Street, and now works with museums and galleries around the city to create public programs focused on food. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and NPR, and she has appeared in NYC-TV’s mini-series “Appetite City,” cooking culinary treats from New York’s past. Lohman is the author of a twice-monthly food feature for Etsy called Kitchen Histories and chronicles her explorations in culinary history on her blog, Four Pounds Flour.

Josey Packard has been a professional bartender for 10 years. Her primary focus is in learning about bar culture in its formative days. She is fiercely devoted to making delicious cocktails and providing her guests exemplary service. She has organized cocktails for the Smithsonian and MSNBC's White House Corespondent's Dinner after party, as well as several events for her beloved Boston Athenæum.

Aquitaine Group Culinary Director Michael Zentner believes that a chef’s passion in the kitchen translates into passion on the plate and that a staff’s enthusiasm for service and hospitality translates into a great restaurant. A 2001 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Zentner is a native of Newport, Rhode Island, who confesses he grew up wanting a career in cooking. As a second grader in elementary school, he brought his own hot dogs for the class, griddling them on his teacher’s travel-size flat top. Twenty years later, the hot dogs paid off and Zentner moved to Sun Valley Idaho and became the youngest chef to run a Relais et Chateaux property. By 2009, Zentner was overseeing one of Boston’s busiest restaurants, Gaslight Brasserie Du Coin. Most recently, Zentner opened restaurants Alta Strada and Conoshi for James Beard Award winner Michael Schlow in Washington, DC.

Follow along with Zentner and his culinary adventures via his Twitter and Instagram accounts [@ChefMikeZ], which will have you salivating and ready for more.

This event is sponsored by the Young Patrons.

This is the second program in Rookie Republic: Early America and Its Place on the Global Stage, a three-part series that highlights diverse and lesser-told stories of life, culture, and commerce in the burgeoning American nation. Join us on Wednesday, November 2, for George Washington’s Library at the Athenæum: Transatlantic Dialogues of Slavery and Freedom and on Tuesday, December 13, for Muslims in America since 1619.

Schedule an appointment to view John Story Bullard’s journal of a trading voyage from New York to Mumbai in the Vershbow Special Collections Reading Room. From November 21, 1833, to January 7, 1834, the ship Henry Clay took on “boat loads” of black pepper, dates, coffee, ginger, and more.

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Most programs held in the Bayard Henry Long Room on the Athenaeum's first floor are amplified and assistive listening devices are available for patron use.

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To request ASL interpretation services for any of the Athenaeum's programs, please contact Hannah Weisman at 617-720-7617 or