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logo for Francine Segan Food Historian with a wire whisk whose handle looks like an old-fashioned pen

Courtesy Francine Segan

Dive Into Delicious Food History With Food Historian Francine Segan

Free culinary talks on chocolate, breakfast cereals and more for AARP members

Francine Segan began her career as a food historian because of a dry lesson on Shakespeare.

Her young son came home from school one day and commented that they were learning about Shakespeare, but that it was “boring,” and could mom make it more interesting? “What do you think he ate for dinner?” he asked her. She immediately started to research and found a book at the library about Shakespeare that had been published in his lifetime and included foods commonly eaten in England at the time.

“I ended up making a dinner for the kids, complete with fish-shaped salmon pie, citrus tarts and grape juice in pewter goblets” she says. “It was so fun and fascinating.”

Word spread and adults wanted in on the fun, and soon Segan found herself in the throes of researching historical menus for dinner parties. A book publisher called, Shakespeare’s Kitchen: Renaissance Recipes for the Contemporary Cook was created and released, and the rest is, well, history.

“It really is like the coolest job, I have to pinch myself all the time,” Segan says.

Food Historian Lecture Series 

Francine Segan’s sweet spot is teaching others the decadent history of your favorite foods. As part of the Food Historian Lecture Series created by Segan and presented by AARP, the following videos are being made available to AARP members for a limited time (stay tuned for more coming soon!):

These videos are part of AARP’s Virtual Community Center, where you can find a variety of free virtual events designed for learning, self-improvement and fun.


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