COURTESY JERRY BERTA
Rosie's Diner, Rockford, Mich.
The American Diner is all about food, mood and attitude. In the 1950s and'60s gadgets such as the jukebox and soda machines attracted a previously untapped mass-market -- kids with cars and money to spend.
A Smithsonian exhibit traces the nation’s culinary history
Food is about more than chewing and swallowing. It's about cooking and culture, mom and memories. This has all been said many times, of course, in everything from cookbooks to poetry, but now the idea takes physical form with the imprimatur of the Smithsonian Institution.
» On view: Saturday through Aug. 22
» Place: Lama Library, Kapiolani Community College
» Hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays, 10 to 4 p.m. Saturdays, noon to 4 p.m. Sundays
» Admission: Free
» Call: 734-9268
» Kapolei Public Library: Sept. 2 to Oct. 18
» Lyman Museum, Hilo: Oct. 31 to Jan. 31
» Maui Community College: Feb. 14 to April 12
The Smithsonian's Museum on Mainstreet program, which takes exhibitions on tour, brings "Key Ingredients: America by Food" to Hawaii for a three-island tour beginning this weekend at Kapiolani Community College.
Through artifacts, photos and illustrations, "Key Ingredients" traces the diversity of the nation's palate through culture, class and tradition. It also covers the history of food service and production, and the evolution of the American kitchen from wood stove to microwave.
Carol Harsh, director of the Museum on Mainstreet, said the exhibit has been to more than 20 states, and at many sites, she's listened as grandparents, inspired by the displays, have told grandkids about having an ice box in the kitchen, or a cow in the back yard.
It seems to bring out a desire to share, she said. "There's something about food that speaks volumes about where you come from, your heritage."
COURTESY ANACOSTIA MUSEUM
Baltimore, Md., produce vendor and his cart, 2000
After the Civil War, street vendors known as "arabbers," mostly African Americans, sold fruits and vegetables from horse-drawn carts in Eastern cities. Horse-cart sales are prohibited in most cities, so today only a handful of vendors in Baltimore still practice this trade.
Now, don't expect an exhibit with high-tech bells and whistles. It consists mostly of photographs, posters and such, with plenty to read -- "not framed works or precious objects," Harsh said -- and not much interactivity.
The Hawaii shows will include a local component, "Hawaii by Food: A Celebration of Hawaii's Food Culture," that covers local traditions from the plantation to Hawaii Regional Cuisine.
If it's a more multimedia approach you're after:
COURTESY WINCHESTER PRINTERS
Queen's Court, Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival, 1924
Since 1924, this annual festival has celebrated Virginia's apple-growing belt.
» Storyteller Jeff Gere will speak of food at 2:30 p.m. Sundays, July 13 to Aug. 10 in KCC's Lama Library.
» A free film series, "Food, Multiculturalism, and Family," takes place at 6 p.m. Wednesdays, July 9 to Aug. 6 (except July 23). For a film listing, visit kcc.hawaii.edu and click on "Key Ingredients."
COURTESY MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Minnesota State Fair, 1947
Three boys enjoy hot dogs, an all-American treat introduced at New York's Coney Island in 1916 by Nathan Handwerker, a Polish shoemaker.
» Download the Local Grindz Quiz at the same KCC Web page above and see how quickly you can identify 50 local foods.
» The exhibition's companion Web site, www.keyingredients.org, allows people across the country to share family recipes and food experiences.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
The opening date for "Key Ingredients: America by Food" at Kapolei Public Library has been changed to Sept. 2, due to the Labor Day holiday. Originally, this article listed an incorrect date.