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US museum encourages home cooks to share family recipes

INQUIRER.net stock photo.
INQUIRER.net stock photo.

Fans of good food largely agree that cooking is about sharing, before anything else. That’s why the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) in Washington D.C. has decided to launch a virtual exhibition about culinary transmission. This initiative also encourages web users to share their own family recipes.

Smeared with tomato sauce or olive oil, handed over from one generation to the next, recipe notebooks used to be key in preparing traditional meals. Now, however, they have been replaced by smartphone applications that show us in a few seconds how to master chefs’ recipes.

The Washington Museum of Women in the Arts wants to rehabilitate those family culinary traditions with “RECLAMATION: Recipes, Remedies, and Rituals.” This digital show will be on view from Jan. 18 to Dec. 31, 2021 on the U.S. institution’s website. It will examine “food as a creative medium for visual art and a connective tool for exploring intergenerational and intercultural experiences.”

Nine interdisciplinary artists will open their kitchen doors, sharing a series of photographs, videos and tales about this place of sharing and transmission. Sharayna Ashanti Christmas, Aletheia Hyun-Jin Shin, Tsedaye Makonnen and Lauren Von Der Pool are among the artists featured.


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But these female artists are not the only ones to take part in the exhibition, as interested web users can share their own kitchen recipes until Jan. 18. To take part, you will need to share your list of ingredients for the recipe, a photograph and instructions as well as some anecdotes and family stories concerning the dish. The main goal of this participatory initiative is to create a digital portal where recipes will be sorted by keywords, establishing links between ingredients and culinary experiences.

“Now more than ever people are looking to interact with one another in meaningful ways,” said Melani N. Douglass, NMWA director of public programs. “We are exploring how and if an exhibition can be a source of comfort and care during a time like this by connecting with artists and visitors at one of the most intimate spaces in the home: the kitchen table.” CC


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