Milwaukee Public Museum serves up ‘Global Kitchen’

March 16, 2017


Planning ahead

Global Kitchen: Food, Nature, Culture

When: Exhibit is open daily through July 19 (except July 4).

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Where: Milwaukee Public Museum, 800 W. Wells St., Milwaukee . Admission: $25 for adults, $20 for seniors (65 and older), $18 for kids (5 through 13) and free for 4 and younger. Discounts for museum members. Admission includes the “Global Kitchen” as well as :permanent exhibit galleries.

On the web:  

MILWAUKEE - Do you think about the food at the end of your fork? Where it came from? Who took part in growing, raising or preparing it?

The Milwaukee Public Museum’s latest exhibit shows what it took to make your food in the “Global Kitchen: Food, Nature, Culture.”

You might even have gone organic and vegan, but those workers growing your sustenance are still part of a food industry that employs more than 1 billion worker serving the 7.5 billion people on the planet.

“Food affects everyone on the planet,”  local exhibit curator Martha Davis Kipcak said in a release. “We all eat. That’s why this exhibit is so important. And more than just important, it’s also a fun and interactive way to understand how food both sustains our bodies and perpetuates our culture.  Meals are the places where families meet, business is conducted and where our senses are stimulated.”

While packed with numbers - like the average American will eat 28 pigs in a lifetime - the exhibit also is hands-on. Or nose-on when it comes to the smelling stations with scents such as fennel, lavender and lemon.

An interactive cooking table allows visitor to make well-known dishes from around the world.

A big part of the New York-based American Museum of Natural History touring exhibit is food’s global scope and impact. It looks at how dishes have evolved, including Korean kimchi with its sauerkraut fermenting in glass jars buried into the earth to the tantalizing aroma of Moroccan tagine.

It explores the biology of taste and the complexities of flavor. Taste tests with local farmers, chefs and nutritionists turn it into a tongue-on demonstration. Meijer is sponsoring a demonstration kitchen that changes every two weeks.

Getting it to a market remains a large part of the food puzzle. Food Ships is an interactive game that shows the challenges of transporting items like bananas, apples and tuna globally.

“Global Kitchen” also goes back in time, featuring a re-creation of a 16th-century Aztec marketplace.

During the exhibit that began this month and runs through July 19, visitors can also look forward to:

-   Discovering what a week’s worth of groceries includes for families from 16 different countries.

- Exploring common breakfast foods from around the world, from Greek pancakes to Colombian changua soup.

- Sitting at the tables of some illustrious individuals throughout history, including Empress Livia of Rome, Mongolian ruler Kublai Khan and author Jane Austen.

-  Looking at historic dishes, from Mohandas Ghandhi’s childhood meal to Michael Phelps’s Olympian-sized breakfast.

“This is more than an exhibit,” Davis Kipcak said. “It’s a cultural experience that connects us to the rest of the world using our most common thread: food.”

The exhibit looks at the role food plays in culture, from colorful Ukrainian Easter eggs to sugar skulls in Mexico’s Day of the Dead. The importance of feasts, such as Chinese New Year and Oktoberfest, is examined.

It also explores what happens when we’re done with our food. A waste sculpture contains the amount of food the average U.S. family of four wastes annually - 1,656 pounds - which leaves plenty of food for thought.