These trailblazers helped bread rise in cultural status, celebrate them in new exhibit

Hosted by

Amir Edward is the founder of The Original Hawowshi and one of the participants in the exhibition “Kneaded.” When he could not source Egyptian aish baladi bread in LA, he went to his grandmother, Salwa Ibrahim, to learn how to make his own. Photo courtesy of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

Few things bring people together like food, especially one that’s existed since pretty much the beginning of time: bread. In LA, which is home to diverse cultures and traditions, there are all kinds of bread to enjoy. 

The Natural History Museum of LA (NHM) is highlighting over 30 bread makers from around the southland in a virtual exhibit called “Kneaded: LA Bread Stories.” On November 19, the exhibit moves from virtual to in-person for a “bread fest” featuring some of those LA-area bakers and their goods, as well as demonstrations and musical performances.

Milena Acosta, senior manager of community engagement at NHM, says the exhibit “is all about highlighting the bread history here in Los Angeles and celebrating these innovators, the trailblazers, and all of those resilient bread makers who call LA home.”

She continues, “Most importantly, we wanted to talk about folks that elevate bread … into a cultural object. Every person that we highlighted has a story intertwined with some sort of culture or community.”

Many of the “Kneaded” stories are of intergenerational knowledge being passed down, from Sandra Hale’s fry bread recipe and stand that she inherited from her mother, to The Nickel Diner’s family recipe for biscuits.

“There's a reason why when people bite into this bread that might not be of their culture. You feel connected to it because there's something that's passed down and innate — that love, that warmth,” Acosta explains. “Those processes that have been passed down over time come out in their food, and we see that loving recreation of bread for their communities.”

The virtual exhibit will come to life on Saturday in what Acosta jokingly calls “Carbchella.”



  • Milena Acosta - Senior Manager of Community Engagement Natural History Museum


Christian Bordal