The conference room featured a powerpoint presentation behind a stage, with the space comfortably filled with fellow attendees. Each talk featured a sign language interpreter; I am so impressed by this museums's dedication to educating all learners. I'm certainly taking notes from the pros!
In case you're wondering, the day's conference schedule looked like this:
Outerwear, mourning, makeup, oh my!
Each topic was incredibly interesting, from the outwear all the way to the well drinks. I'll only talk about a few, because otherwise I'd be writing a book! (I totally am writing a book right now, but no more spoilers). Seriously, I can feel the information crammed in my brain oozing out of my ears!
We all really appreciated the culinary history talk (of course). From the Food of the Dead presentation, Sarah Lohman (FourPoundsFlour.com) regaled us of tales of cannibalism, a modern version of ancient beer called Midas Touch, and a cultural connection to Dia de los Muertos. Food is so imperative to the act of mourning! Also, sin eating is a thing and I (somehow) haven't done it. She is a very informed, entertaining speaker. If you get a chance, buy her book: Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine. It's on pre-sale until December 6th, so it would be a great present for the holidays!
Lunch was fantastic on every level, by the way. I suppose we should have expected that, given that they teach cooking classes. We received a bill of fare with our welcome packet, along with the receipts. The theme was customary funeral food, a sort of feast of the dead. I munch on pickled beets, nibbled a potato casserole, and chomped a particularly feisty pie. Bonus points for the Pan de Muerto featured on the table. Double bonus points for the casket and mourning cookies to take home!
It's not a funeral without me being funny
Glenna Jo told me to meet her friend Kim.
Look who I accidentally sat next to at lunch!
The historic cosmetics presentation by Katie Cannon featured a hilarious look at the lengths that women have gone to preserve beauty. Dainty white skin brought to you by deadly lead! She even had a pile of beauty marks for us to pick from. Also, the diarrhea of diseased sperm whale is worth millions of dollars. No, seriously. Even though I rarely use cosmetics, it was still fun to learn!
The last presentation of the day by Joe Fee and Luc Thiers truly captivated the entire room. By the way, Joe runs Fee Brothers, a mix/bitters company. We started with a delicious glass of champagne, and moved to a taste test of different bitters/drinks. Joe is pretty funny, and Luc's mixing skills were top notch. I learned so much about Prohibition, drinking priests, and virgins. Needless to say, we enjoyed our last talk of the day!
Luc kindly directed us to our dinner destination, a spot in Rochester called Cure. We were a bit skeptical when we pulled in, but the food went beyond our expectations. Duck pate. Cheese. Sausage. Some more stuff in French that I can't pronounce. I also reccomend this place if you visit!
We ended the night on a high note, ready to tear into our goodies from the gift shop of the day. Meg and Jillian are such little researchers; not 20 minutes back before they were already making stickies notes onto one of the books. I also made out like a bandit, with books and a springerle mold.
I wasn't sure how we would top the first day, but we did it!