Food treasures in New York City

Our Global Kitchen: Food, Nature, Culture: New Exhibit Opens at American Museum of Natural History

Varieties of potatoes that no longer exist

Did you know that cookbooks didn’t exist until the 1800’s? Most people couldn’t read, so recipes were shared by word-of-mouth. How about the fact that in the 1500s we had 12 varieties of potatoes that no longer exist? Were you aware too, that some people can taste bitterness on their tongues but others (me included) can’t?

Press a button and “smell” fennel

These are some of the things that I learned at the multi-sensory, extremely creative interactive exhibit “Our Global Kitchen: Food, Nature, Culture” at New York’s American Museum of Natural History. The exhibit, which opened November 17th and runs through August 11, 2013, looks at global food in a variety of ways: from farm to table and from growing to eating. Using beautiful photography and video, olfactory stations, and educational displays, one learns that what you choose to eat can shape the planet. Highlights from the exhibit include:

Interactive cooking table

At the Interactive Cooking Table four people at a time can try their virtual hands at cooking four different international dishes. Video projected on the table’s surface takes visitors through the recipes in five easy interactive steps. I “made” groundnut soup from West Africa. (See below for the recipe)

Apple tasting in the Whole Foods sponsored kitchen

A working kitchen, presented with Whole Foods Market, has live programming and features daily samplings. I tasted varieties of apples and learned how smell and taste are inter-connected.

Become a part of the exhibit via Instagram

You can become a part of the exhibit by posting a photo and caption of a memorable meal using Instagram with hashtag #CelebrateFood.

Groundnut soup


2 Tbsp olive oil, divided

1 lb chicken thighs, cubed

1 medium onions, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 large red peppers, chopped

1 small squash, cut into ½ inch cubes

1 medium yam or sweet potato, cut into ½ inch cubes

4 large carrots, cut in 1/2 inch cubes

2 cups crushed tomatoes

8 cups chicken stock

¼ tsp. pepper

½ tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tsp. ground coriander

2/3 cup ground roasted peanuts (or unsweetened peanut butter)

Salt to taste


  1. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large stock pot over medium high heat. Pat the chicken pieces dry, season them with salt, and brown them in the oil. Set the chicken pieces aside as they brown.
  2. Add 1 Tbsp. oil to the same pot. Lower the heat. add onions and garlic and sweat for two minutes.
  3. Add the pepper and sweat for one minute
  4. Add the squash, yam and carrots, and sweat for 8 minutes
  5. Stir in tomatoes, and simmer for 2 minutes.
  6. Add the browned chicken, the chicken stock, pepper, cayenne pepper and coriander and simmer for 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
  7. Turn the heat off, and stir in peanut butter until well blended.
  8. Serve over rice, or in a soup bowl.

November 22, 2012 Posted by | Food, Museums | , | Leave a comment