The next exhibit to come to Williamsburg-based MOFAD (Museum of Food and Drink) is slated to be an absolute must-see, housed at Harlem’s the Africa Center: “African/American: Making the Nation’s Table” will be curated by culinary historian and writer Dr. Jessica B. Harris—author of the unmissable books My Soul Looks Back and High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America, among many others—and include the Ebony Test Kitchen, which the museum won a bid to purchase earlier this year after it was almost torn down with the Chicago building it was housed in during the magazine’s 1970s and ’80s heyday.
It will be the first exhibition in the United States dedicated solely to Black contributions to American cuisine, which is why it’s crucial to be housed at the new Africa Center, which straddles the border of Harlem and the Museum Mile.
“The exhibition will tell a series of stories of Black contributions to American food—from whiskey to ice cream, rice and refrigeration—Black chefs and entrepreneurs have been instrumental in shaping so much of how Americans eat,” says a press release. “Each of these tales is woven into the Legacy Quilt, a tapestry of 400 personal stories of African American chefs, farmers, and food and drink producers in honor of the 400 years that have passed since the first enslaved Africans arrived in Virginia.”
Questlove, the food-loving musician and author, will be in charge of the exhibit’s music, and chef Carla Hall will create a lunch inspired by the Great Migration, during which Black travelers were denied food service and pack shoeboxes of food for their only meals during travel. “MOFAD’s tasting will use the shoebox lunch as a symbol of culture, connection, and the spread of African American culinary identity across the country,” they say.
To contribute to the exhibit and make this historic moment a reality, visit their recently launched Kickstarter, which also provides more information on what to expect when it debuts.