It was a packed house at the Gulfport History Museum for Florida history expert Dr. Gary Mormino at the Gulfport History Society’s Porch Party on Friday, September 18. Mormino entertained the crowd with a lively talk on 10 foods that define Florida and their history, the subject of his upcoming book. Foods ranged from the familiar – smoked fish and cornbread – to the exotic, like mamey, a tropical tree fruit.
Mormino provided interesting native foodie facts and stressed the importance of remembering Florida’s heritage. He engaged the audience with stories like why authentic Cuban bread was often baked with a palmetto frond on top – when it turned a certain color, the bakers knew the bread was done.
Mormino retired from the University of South Florida (USF) history department in 2012 after 35 years and is co-founder of the Florida Studies program at the USF-St. Petersburg campus. He is best known for the 2008 book, “Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams,” which was for sale at the museum. Some of Mormino’s former students were on hand and called Mormino “an inspiration.”
Food for the event was provided by Pia’s Trattoria, and upcoming Gulfport Historical Society events were announced, including the Flying Mullet 5K and One Mile Fun Run on October 16 and Gulfport Under the Stars on October 24.
For more information, go to gulfporthistoricalsociety.org or Facebook at facebook.com/GulfportHistoricalSociety.