Food History, Food-ish Writing
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Seven Simply Smashing Food Exhibits: No Tickets, Shoes, or Shirts Required

One of my favorite things on a weekend afternoon, a weekday evening—well, we can go ahead and say just about anytime—is to spend a few glorious hours of levity and escape at a museum. I’m lucky to live in Boston where world-class museums abound as plentifully as colleges and universities, but sometimes, I hear you, we get busy and don’t make it out the door to enjoy the many intriguing exhibits on display.

Here you’ll find seven excellent online food museum exhibits that you can visit anytime you like from your computer—and in your pajamas if you so desire. There are likely many more delightful virtual expos, but these seven, listed in no particular order, can be a very filling place to start…

1. Julia Child’s Kitchen

Even if you aren’t in Washington D.C. you can peek in the drawers and cupboards of Julia Child’s kitchen, view selected culinary objects, and peruse an interactive timeline that chronicles her love of cooking.

Exhibit by the Smithsonian, National Museum of American History

2. War-Era Food Posters

Check out dozens of posters from during and between the World Wars with food-focused messages, such as “Eat more cottage cheese,” “Every garden a munition plant,” and “Have you eaten your pound of potatoes today?”

Exhibit by Cory Bernat from the Collection of the National Agricultural Library

3. What’s Cooking Uncle Sam?

Trace the Government’s effect on how Americans eat, exploring the farm, factory, kitchen, and table. This exhibit ran at the National Archives from June 2011 to January 2012, but you can still experience much of it through the online exhibit preview. I highly recommend purchasing the exhibit catalog.

Exhibit by the National Archives

4. counter space: design + the modern kitchen

Explore the twentieth-century kitchen as a nexus of technology, design, culture, and aesthetics through items in the MOMA collection, including a recently acquired, and  unusually complete, example of the iconic “Frankfurt Kitchen,” designed in 1926–27 by the architect Grete Schütte-Lihotzky.

Exhibit by the Museum of Modern Art

5. Key Ingredients: America by Food

Emphasizing regional traditions and international influences, this exhibit takes you coast to coast through 500 years of food in America. Through a selection of artifacts, photographs, and illustrations, you’ll explore within the home, as well as restaurants, diners, and communities.

Exhibit by the Smithsonian Institute

6. Chosen Food

Click through this beautifully done online exhibit dedicated to American Jewish identity, cuisine, and culture. You’ll find tantalizing stories and facts, from Chinese food on Christmas to the Gefilte Fish Line to latke mix in a box.

Exhibit by the Jewish Museum of Maryland

7. A Visual Feast

The National Association for the Specialty Food Trade celebrates the organization’s 60th anniversary with a beautiful (though slightly self-serving) online exhibit of 60 features, including products (from pickles to chocolate), pioneers (such as Julia Child and Martin Yan), organization events throughout the twentieth century, and trends that have transformed the culinary landscape, such as fast food, consumer food movements, and kitchen appliances.

Exhibit by the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade 

This post was originally published on the Gastronomy at BU blog


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