As Newport Historical Society staff put the finishing touches on the multi-million dollar Resource Center renovation project, the Society is working to launch its first initiative of the New Year, Newport Eats.
“Rhode Island is a gastronomic state,” explains the Society’s Executive Director Ruth Taylor, “and Newport has long been known as a center for fine dining and good food. Newport Eats, our history of food initiative, features programs and exhibits that explore the role of food in Newport’s rich and diverse history. We will be looking at the lived experience of the past through food, and using that information to think about the future as well.”
One of the inaugural initiatives of Newport Eats is to capture a 21st century food moment. The Society is collecting and documenting current menus for restaurants and events to both add to its collection and to feature in an upcoming exhibit. A call for menus was put out to local restaurants, and Ben’s Chili Dogs, Fluke, Mission and Restorante Mamma Luisa’s are a few of the many who have already responded.
Other aspects of Newport Eats include exploring menus and recipes of the past through a series of recreated culinary events, and putting all of these meals in historical context through lectures and other educational programs. “Newport Eats will look toward the future, using the past to discuss ideas about healthy and sustainable eating in the 21st century,” Taylor concludes.
Image: A 2015 menu from Fluke Wine Bar & Kitchen pictured beside an historic menu from an 1892 dining party on board the Alva, a yacht owned by William K. Vanderbilt.