African American food exhibition until June 19

The Legacy Quilt, an astounding 14 ft tall by nearly 28 ft wide work that stitches together hundreds of portraits of African American culinary figures.

African American food will be the centerpiece of an exhibition this summer. Thanks to the collaborative effort of the Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD) and The Africa Center ‘foodies, art lovers, and historians, will get an opportunity to view, Making the Nation’s Table’ at The Africa Center, Aliko Dangote Hall in New York City.

The historic exhibit that opened on Feb. 23, and closes on June 19, examines the vital function African American food and drink producers, from chefs to farmers, have played in American food culture, emphasizing that ‘African American food, is American food, according to published reports.

Curated by celebrated author and culinary historian Jessica B. Harris, alongside an advisory board of 30 visionaries currently working within the African American culinary landscape, including the musician and author Questlove; former Ebony food editors Charlotte Lyons and Charla Draper; author of The Up South Cookbook Nicole Taylor; and Garrett Oliver, the brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewery, the exhibition will feature, the Legacy Quilt, an astounding 14 ft tall by nearly 28 ft wide work that stitches together hundreds of portraits of African American culinary figures.

Additional, James Hemings (1765 – 1801), the first American trained as a French chef, who introduced the US to copper cookware, European-style macaroni and cheese, and French fries; Nearest Green, the first African American master distiller on record, who taught Jack Daniel how to make whisky and, in 1856, as an enslaved man, will also play pivotal roles in what will be a memorable display of African American cuisine.

According to media outlets, the Legacy Quilt features illustrations by artist Adrian Franks, blurbs by writer Osayi Endolyn, and is sewn together by the quilting collective Harlem Needle Arts will also be on display. The exhibit, also includes a virtual companion piece that allows visitors to submit stories of their own African American culinary heroes, emphasizing that documenting history should be a collaborative and ever-expanding effort.

Alongside The Legacy Quilt, visitors will also be able to immerse themselves in the Ebony magazine test kitchen where Ebony editors developed the iconic, ‘Date with A Dish’ column.

Accessible to the public for the first time, the test kitchen serves as the stage for video interviews with former Ebony food editors and a soundtrack curated by musician, farmer, and chef Kelis. Visitors will also be able to interact with a dinner table replica that reveals stories of migration, touch points of culinary culture, and memories of sharing meals with loved ones.

Visitors to the ‘African/American, can also purchase ‘shoebox lunches’ inspired by the meals that African American train travelers packed in shoeboxes during the Great Migration.

MOFAD President Nazli Parviz, says ‘MOFAD produces exhibitions and other public programs that help people to better access their own history and the histories of the people around them as manifested through food and drink.

“We are committed to collaborating with fellow New York City cultural institutions to give exposure to stories that may have been under-appreciated, untold, or erased in the sweep of history and the narrow narratives that dominate it – and to sharing these vital legacies in new and profound ways,” he said.

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