Liz Williams


Always fascinated by the way the lure of nutmeg and peppercorns motivated the exploration of the world, Liz Williams was lucky to be born into a family of Sicilian heritage in New Orleans. She grew up eating in two great food traditions. She is a founder of the Southern Food & Beverage Museum and of the National Food & Beverage Foundation. Much of her research and writing centers on the legal and policy issues related to food and foodways.

Her book, coauthored with Stephanie Jane Carter, The Encyclopedia of Law and Food, was published by Greenwood Publishing in 2011. In 2013 AltaMira published New Orleans: A Food Biography. Her book Lift Your Spirits: A Celebratory History of Cocktail Culture in New Orleans about the drinking culture of New Orleans was published by LSU Press in the spring of 2016. Unique Eats & Eateries New Orleans was published by Reedy Press in 2019. Her most recent book, 2022, is Nana's Creole Italian Table - a cookbook about the Sicilian community in New Orleans.

Liz Williams hosts the Tip of the Tongue, a podcast for eaters and drinkers who are curious about individuals and issues at the intersection of food, drink, and culture and are hungry for more.

For inquiries please email


Liz is available to speak on any one or all of the following topics, or she is able to design a topic just for your organization:

To see Liz's resume, click here. To book her for a lively discussion about food, drink, and food museums, contact the museum at


Food Museums

Interested in starting your own food museum? Liz has been instrumental in personally opening several museums with her work in the National Food & Beverage Foundation. She has worked with several other organizations around the country, through every stage of development, from concept to initial funding ideas to curatorial decisions. Contact her for more information. 

Food Policy

In a former life, Liz was a lawyer, an occupation that gave her a passion for understanding and influencing policy. Food policy is an area that affects nearly every aspect of modern life, but most of us are unaware of the impact of legislation and rulings on our daily meal. Liz is available for consultations, thoughtful articles, and advice.


The main thread that ties Liz's background together is a true desire to share what she knows about food, drink, and culture, and to educate a variety of audiences on these subjects. Liz is available for public talks, as a panelist, a guest lecturer, and much more. 


Liz is a contributing writer for and writes a monthly food column. Check it out here


From meatball po’boys to Creole red gravy, the influence of Sicilian foodways permeates New Orleans, one of America’s greatest food cities. Nana’s Creole Italian Table tells the story of those immigrants and their communities through the lens of food, exploring the ways traditional Sicilian dishes such as pasta and olive salad became a part of―and were in turn changed by―the existing food culture in New Orleans.

Sicilian immigrants―Elizabeth M. Williams’s family among them―came to New Orleans in droves in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, fleeing the instability of their own country and hoping to make a new home in America. This cookbook shares Williams’s traditional family recipes, with variations that reveal the evolution and blending of Sicilian and Creole cuisines. Baked into every recipe is the history of Sicilian American culture as it has changed over the centuries, allowing each new generation to incorporate its own foodways and ever-evolving tastes.

Beignets, Po’ Boys, gumbo, jambalaya, Antoine’s. New Orleans’ celebrated status derives in large measure from its incredibly rich food culture, based mainly on Creole and Cajun traditions. At last, this world-class destination has its own food biography. Elizabeth M. Williams, a New Orleans native and founder of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum there, takes readers through the history of the city, showing how the natural environment and people have shaped the cooking we all love

The Sazerac, the Hurricane, and the absinthe glass of Herbsaint are among the many well-known creations native to New Orleans’s longstanding drinking culture. But more than vehicles for alcohol, the cocktails and spirits that complement the city’s culinary prowess are each a token of its history. In every bar-side toast or street-corner daiquiri you can find evidence of the people, politics, and convergence of ethnicities that drive the story of the Crescent City.

There is no city in America that bases its identity on its unique cuisine more than New Orleans. The geography that gives the city access to sea and land, a history that emphasizes food and drink, and laissez faire attitude that allows visitors and citizens alike to give way to the pleasures of the table, all culminate in an experience that can be had nowhere else on earth. Whether looking for the oldest restaurant in America, the newest avant garde restaurant experimenting with science, a place for a great drink supported by delicious nibbles, Cajun and Creole delicacies you have only read about, or the traditional reasons that the city’s food has been heralded for almost three centuries, you will find the answers in Unique Eats and Eateries of New Orleans. Whether haute cuisine or low cuisine—champagne or alligator—you will find the sweet and savory road map in the pages of this book.

Chapter by Elizabeth Williams: Food Museums

"Until very recently museums did not seem to acknowledge that food was eaten in the historic period... The food museum, whether completely standalone, or partially incorporated into other museums, is a fairly modern attempt to remember and explore the fact that people continue to eat. This essay explores the importance of and reasons for the existence of food museums today."

"Food and Museums is the first book to explore the diverse, complex relationship between museums and food. This edited collection features theoretical analysis from cultural historians, anthropologists, neuroscientists, and food studies scholars; interviews with museum professionals, artists and chefs; and critical case studies from a wide range of cultural institutions and museums to establish an interdisciplinary framework for the analysis of the role of food in museums.

The most comprehensive work covering food and law, the encyclopedia surveys laws related to organics, obesity, and fair trade. It tackles the intersection of law and religious belief, for example with kosher and halal foods, as well as controversies over labeling practices and consumer protection in general. And it looks at the relationship of class to food, exposing poor urban areas that possess few sources of fresh food so that residents are forced to rely on convenience stores and fast food for nutrition. As background, the set also presents a basic history of food-related law to show us how we got where we are