Recently, a friend suggested I check out an exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History called Our Global Kitchen, and it could not have been more up my alley. I stood in front of each piece of the exhibit for silly amounts of time, greedily absorbing as much as I could. For anyone interested in food – farming practices, what local means to different cultures, how trade has shaped cuisine, the science of taste, connectivity between food and heritage – this is an extremely informative and fun exhibit that I highly recommend and may end up checking out again!
This exhibit literally walks you through so many details on the history and evolution of food – it’s amazing. The initial portion details how farming practices have changed, evolved to fit while simultaneously shaping our food needs. I was amazed at how chicken and eggs have increased production for our demand.
This is a global exhibit, so getting to see how farming works in other places around the world is fascinating. Though I am a huge fan of Gotham Greens in BK!
You walk through a typical Aztec market and see how ingredients, like chocolate, were used then (savoury not sweet!).
Now, this is where we get into my favorite portion of the exhibit. We talk about how ingredients and spices have been traded and spread, incorporated into local food. Tomatoes were never grown in Italy, and half of the ingredients in Mexican food were from outside the Americas.
A look at how Kublai Khan ate shows how Mongol rule created a unifying force and a true blend of foods. Is it fusion? Can you call it that?
What’s interesting is that I lightly touch on a few of these points in my cookbook, in terms of how I see food now and evolving in our much younger country. I think history will repeat itself with all of the ethnicities in America contributing to a rich food culture. What do you think?