On Feb. 23, the Historic Arkansas Museum kicked off its first History Is Served dinner, where local chefs create a multi-course meal inspired by traditional Arkansas food culture. First up were Chefs Michael Selig and Gilbert Alaquinez of 42 Bar and Table at the Clinton Center. They did food inspired by Quapaw cooking, including sunflower seed cakes, lima bean succotash, New York strip-style bison topped with sweet potato frites and a flourless chocolate torte.

HAM has an interview with Alaquinez on the experience on the museum’s blog. An excerpt:


What was it like for you to cook a dinner based on traditional Quapaw food?

We’ve been doing Dinners Around the World menus at 42 bar & table, and this heritage dinner was a seamless fit. During the month, I do the research for the Around the World menu, to research a country, look at the most popular items, like particular appetizers, and see what’s the street food, and whatnot. [For this event] the Historic Arkansas Museum gave me a list of recipes and ingredients and information on what was indigenous, like blueberries, pecans, persimmons, beans, different root vegetables… It was actually kind of weird, there were mussels on the list—I never knew there were fresh water mussels. We were trying to figure out a way to get them and it would have had to have been a special order and it ended up being too complicated.

The next dinner is April 5, and the theme will be Colonial Arkansas with French and Spanish foods. Tickets will go on sale on March 12 at historicarkansas.org.