The Amelia Award recognizes lifetime achievement in culinary history.
It is named after Amelia Simmons, the author of American Cookery (1796), the first cookery book written in America, which was published in Hartford, Connecticut and Albany, New York.
Two qualities distinguish all recipients of the Amelia Award: first, they are leading experts in culinary history, with deep knowledge in the field. And second, even more importantly, they have demonstrated generosity and extraordinary support to others in the field, helping to shape and elevate culinary history into the academically-respected discipline that it is today.
Amelia Award Recipients
2018: Dr. Jessica B. Harris
No one knows more about the foodways of the African diaspora than Jessica Harris, and no one has done more to highlight the many contributions of African culinary culture throughout the world. A founding member of the Southern Foodways Alliance, Dr. Harris’s many books include High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America (2011), Beyond Gumbo: Creole Fusion Food from the Atlantic Rim (2003), and The Africa Cookbook: Tastes of a Continent (1998). Her work guided the development of Sweet Home Café, the restaurant of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American Culture and History, and her monthly podcast Welcome to My Table on theHeritage Radio Network continues to explore the relationship between culture and cuisine.
2018: “Hoppin’ John” Martin Taylor
John Martin Taylor, known as “Hoppin’ John,” is one of the luminaries of the cookery of the American South, especially the lowcountry of South Carolina and Georgia. In addition to bringing cultural pride and awareness to the culinary richness of the region through his many cookbooks, among them Hoppin’ John’s Lowcountry Cooking (1992), his many contributions include being one of the founding members of the Southern Foodways Alliance and selling stone-ground corn at the Charleston Farmer’s Market, helping to bring attention to this marvel of southern cooking. Most recently, John has donated his culinary library and personal papers to the International Institute of Myrtle Beach and the College of Charleston’s Special Collections. Generations of students and researchers will be forever grateful for this look into the world of the lowcountry.
2014: Nach Waxman
Nach Waxman founded Kitchen Arts and Letters, New York’s preeminent bookstore devoted to all things culinary, in 1983. It has become a mecca for chefs, researchers and writers, as his mission was to deal with every aspect of cultural life that bore on food. His encouragement to writers to expand their perspectives well beyond kitchen instruction, his help in locating obscure works, and his counsel about incorporating broader historical and cultural context when writing about food, have played an unparalleled role in the evolution of many academic and lay writers.
2012: Andrew F. Smith
The list of works of culinary history that Andy Smith has authored or edited is stunningly long, ranging from the history of junk food to the crucial strategies of food access in the Civil War, but his real contributions are seen in his generosity as teacher, mentor, and impresario, organizing conferences and programs that bring together diverse groups of scholars, activists and members of the public to examine past and contemporary food culture. He donated his collection of more than 7,000 books on food to New York University’s Fales Collection, helping to make Fales the largest library of food materials in the United States.
2011: Janice Bluestein Longone
Jan Longone paved the way for countless scholars to explore American culinary history. As proprietor of The Wine and Food Library, the country’s oldest antiquarian culinary bookshop, she amassed an extraordinary collection of culinary Americana, which, in 2005, she donated to the Clements Library at the University of Michigan, launching the Longone Center for American Culinary Research. She also supported Michigan State University’s “Feeding America” project, which has digitized many cookbooks and primary sources foundational to the study of American culinary history, making them freely available to anyone with an internet connect. She founded the Culinary Historians of Ann Arbor, and has organized symposia on American culinary history.
2010: Betty Fussell
Betty Fussell is the world’s most glamorous culinary historian, having be the subject of a Vogue photoshoot in 2008. Underneath that gorgeous exterior lies a serious scholar, teacher, and author of many books, including the Jane Grigson Award-winning The Story of Corn. Her memoir, My Kitchen Wars, was adapted into a one-woman play. Produced in New York City and Los Angeles, it helped define the genre of the culinary memoir.
2009: Jacqueline Newman
Jackie Newman has filled a unique niche in culinary history: the founding editor of Flavor and Fortune, the first and only English language quarterly devoted to Chinese food culture, Jackie has brought a high level of scholarship to exploring Chinese food, whether found in the United States and abroad. A nutritionist by training, she is the author of several well-respected books on Chinese food. In 2002, she donated her collection of more that 4,000 works of Chinese culinary culture to Long Island’s Stony Brook University to create the Jacqueline M. Newman Chinese Cookbook Collection, where it can be studied by anyone.
2007: Barbara Ketcham Wheaton
Soft-spoken Barbara Wheaton is a founding member of the Culinary Historians of Boston, the nation’s first culinary history group and one of the leading experts on the history of French cuisine. Her Savoring the Past: The French Kitchen from 1300 to 1789 was a groundbreaking and award-winning work. She has been the Honorary Curator of the culinary collection at the Radcliffe Institute’s Schlesinger Library, teaches her unique “Reading Cookbooks” seminar, and is producing the Cook’s Oracle, a database of hundreds of thousands of historical recipes.
2004: Karen Hess
Karen Hess was the widely-acknowledged grande dame of American culinary history, introducing rigor to the study of food and cuisine that was previously unknown. Her many works include annotated editions of the Martha Washington Cookery Booke, The Virginia Housewife, and The Carolina Rice Kitchen, in which she established a methodology for studying food through history and linguistical analysis that is still used today.