African Americans have played an important role in developing many of the foods that we consider quintessentially American. A new exhibit opening at the Africa Center in East Harlem will highlight African Americans’ contributions to culinary history.
The exhibit “African/American: Making the Nation’s Table” was created by the staff at the Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD) and curated by historian Dr. Jessica B. Harris. MOFAD partnered with the Africa Center to premier the exhibit in the center’s gallery space. The exhibit is structured around four stories, each one representing one of the four centuries since enslaved Africans arrived on the North American continent. It will feature a legacy quilt telling the story of African American culinary innovators, music curated by Questlove, and food tastings by Carla Hall. The centerpiece of the exhibit is the historic Ebony Magazine Test Kitchen, which MOFAD restored to be presented to the public for the first time in this exhibit.
MOFAD executive director Peter J. Kim said that the exhibit has two main goals: “to create a deep appreciation for the profound impact that African Americans have had on American cuisine, and to bring diverse audiences together around a table to celebrate our shared culinary identity.”
“African/American: Making the Nation’s Table” opens at the Africa Center in late February.