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In Dining

Guests view the exhibit's recreated Aztec market while "Our Global Kitchen" was on view in Texas in 2016. (PHOTO: Bullock Texas State History Museum Facebook)

Milwaukee Public Museum explores food, from farm to fork in "Global Kitchen"

Perhaps more than ever, we enjoy experiencing the world via our dinner plates. A new exhibit at the Milwaukee Public Museum digs down into our love of eating to explore and explain the path of food, from farm to fork.

MPM dishes up "Global Kitchen: Food, Nature, Culture," a traveling exhibition organized by New York's American Museum of Natural History, on Friday, March 3. Museum members get a sneak peek on Saturday, Feb. 25.

Ever wondered how a cuisine reflects and influences culture and identity, or how what we eat affects the planet, or why food diversity is important or about the role of human ingenuity in food? This exhibition, which boasts a working kitchen, attempts to answer these questions and more.

The show has themed sections called "Grow," "Trade and Transport" – including a recreated Aztec market – "Cook," "Taste" (with a working kitchen, details below), "Eat," "Celebrate" and "Future of Food."

When "Our Global Kitchen" opened at the National Geographic Museum in Washington, D.C., in 2014, The Washingtonian called it "one of the most exciting culinary exhibits to arrive in Washington."

One of the main features of the exhibit – curated by the Museum of Natural History's Dr. Eleanor Sterling, chief conservation scientist, and Dr. Mark Norell, chair of the museum's division of paleontology – is the demonstration kitchen, which will offer cooking demos, tasty samples and more.

The kitchen plates up a full menu of themes – which change every other week – during the exhibition's run, through July 9 (descriptions provided by Milwaukee Public Museum):

  • March 3-16: Colorful Eating. Find out from where fruits and vegetables get their colors.
  • March 17-30: Food Preservation. Learn how freezing, drying, curing and canning are used to preserve food.
  • March 31-April 13: Herbs & Spices. Learn about the flavor profiles of various seasonings and how they are used globally.
  • April 14-27: Breads & Grains. Learn about the variety of breads and grains around the world.
  • April 28-May 11: Chocolate. Learn about local and global cultural traditions involving chocolate.
  • May 12-25: Coffee & Tea. Learn about the rituals associated with drinking coffee or tea.
  • May 26-June 8: Wisconsin Spring Fruits & Vegetables. Learn about the seasonal availability of edible spring plants in Wisconsin.
  • June 9-22: Fermentation. Learn about fermentation and the historical, cultural and scientific reasons behind the process.
  • June 23-July 9: Dairy. Learn why Wisconsin is known as "America's Dairyland."

The Milwaukee Public Museum will also host a slate of other special events, including the intriguing "How Milwaukee Fed America" event with John Gurda and Kyle Cherek at Karl Ratzch restaurant on Wednesday, April 26.

Details on that event and the others being prepped for "Global Kitchen" can be found here.


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