“Our Global Kitchen” at the Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side

  Last modified on November 27th, 2019

Through August 11th, the Museum of Natural History will be presenting an exhibit called “Our Global Kitchen: Food, Nature and Culture”. This exhibit will examine the myriad of details that goes into the world’s food consumption. From current global trends to anthropological viewpoints, this exhibit will trace the history of human food consumption, examine its current state and predict its future. It will dive into the production of livestock and agriculture, as well as food’s transportation, distribution, global impact and the broad spectrum of how different areas tend to eat, from right here in America to third world countries and everywhere in between. It will examine the global food industry and its effect on different regions health, culture and the environment. It will also show the evolution of the way food is cultivated and consumed. Genetically modified crops versus organic farming, and methods for raising livestock will all be taken into account as well as the way these practices effect the environment and the way food shapes different cultures.

The Museum of Natural History exhibit will feature a working kitchen with various seasonal pieces of cuisine for visitors to taste, as well as a virtual kitchen where visitors can put together different meals on their own. They also have features like their re-imagined Aztec marketplace from 1519 to give guests an idea about how people ate, gathered, and shared food throughout history. There are some very interesting facts presented about food production and consumption, citing the growth in demand over the past 20 years, the amount of food the average American family wastes, and the amount of people in the world going hungry (1 in 8). It also talks about the effects and statistics of bio-fuels, the pros, cons and effects they have on the environment. For instance, they cite how in Brazil more sugar is consumed at the gas station than at the supermarket. Sugarcane apparently releases less carbon dioxide when converted to ethanol than other bio fuels yet this can cause food prices to rise exponentially and affects the natural ecosystems.

The history of the food trade’s transportation will also be highlighted, tracing its roots from the old Silk Road of the ancient orient to the barges and 18 wheelers of today, through which visitors can learn about all the work that goes into bringing them their meals. The import and export of food will be a prominent factor in this segment of the exhibit, comparing the outsourcing of food cultivation versus shopping locally grown foods.

With the history and anthropology of food being one of the main focuses of this Museum of Natural History exhibit, they will feature some prominent meals throughout time such as “appetizers in ancient Rome”, “meal for a Mongol emperor”, “an Olympic sized breakfast” (based on Michael Phelps) and much more. However, they don’t stop at the past; the future of food will be a prominent climax to the exhibit and will examine the growth of the human population and how we will adapt to feed everyone using more progressive means such as urban farming and underused sources of nutrition such as algae and peach palm. The food industry affects every living creature on our planet and “Our Global Kitchen” at the Museum of Natural History is here to educate us all on where mankind’s food has evolved from over the years, where it is now and where it is going. This is definitely an exhibit at the Museum of Natural History that should speak to everyone.

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