By Josh Coletto
As I looked at the seventy-ninth and Columbus Street entrance to the American Museum of Natural History I couldn’t help but wonder what the bright rows of lights were in the window. Plants hanging with red, white and blue lights blaring from them lined the window from top to bottom. Walking in I soon found that it was a display by Brooklyn Vertical Gardens. From basil, to carrots, to dill, there were flourishing plants growing in a new style of urban gardening.
Vertical Farming is but one of the many subjects seen in the Museum of Natural History’s new exhibition “Our Global Kitchen”. This exhibit takes a look at every aspect of food as it travels from field to family. We see the way food not only sustains our hunger, but shapes a culture.
The exhibit begins with a look into agriculture of the past, present and future. Showing new techniques and past methods used to feed a continually growing world. Several displays line the walls showing how our food ecosystem has changed by selective breeding (creating new plants to have the properties we want), overfishing and genetically modified organisms (GMO).
From GMO’s the exhibit transitions to trade, and how and why it has helped to develop cultures and cuisine. Meals from countries all around the world, as well as meals from the past, are displayed in sculptures throughout the room. If you were ever curious what Kublai Khan ate to keep up his strength to pillage you will find out here.
One of the mosy fascinating highlights of the exhibit was the kitchen. Different farmers and local chefs will be doing different demonstrations throughout the duration of the exhibit. Interactive stations in the kitchen help answer some kooky culinary questions that you may have. When I was there there was a demonstration on making fresh apple cider with an old fashioned cider press. It was delicious!
From the kitchen to utensils, the exhibit also shows cooking tools used throughout history and throughout the world. Exhibition goers can see how four virtual meals can be made and how different countries use different tools and ingredients.
Food plays an important role to everyone in every culture worldwide. Whether it’s a celebratory meal or just a quick snack, food should never be taken for granted. “Our Global Kitchen” will make you think twice about everything that your food goes through before it finds its way to your plate.