UPPPER WEST SIDE — Just in time for the nation's largest food holiday, the American Museum of Natural History is set to open an exhibit called "Our Global Kitchen: Food, Nature, Culture."
From Jane Austen's appreciation for ice cream to how much food Americans waste each year, the exhibit, which opens Saturday, takes on a wide-ranging exploration of food production and culture across the globe and across history.
Eleanor Sterling, the co-curator of the exhibit, said the goal is for people to leave with "a better connection with why they eat and what they eat and to remind them how fun food is."
Alongside facts about shrinking biodiversity are interactive screens and panels that teach you how to cook or explain the chemistry behind the taste of popcorn. The exhibit is full of information that will delight foodies, Sterling said.
She added that there seem to be more food TV shows and cookbooks than ever.
Toward the end of the exhibit, visitors can step inside a working kitchen to watch a cooking demonstration. The kitchen, sponsored by Whole Foods, will feature local celebrity chefs, whose names have not yet been released, and popular local purveyors like Mast Brothers Chocolate, Blue Bottle Coffee and Red Jacket Orchards.
The demonstrations, which include free tastings, stress local, organic foods, along with a focus on sustainability that is present throughout "Our Global Kitchen."
The exhibit highlights examples of vertical farming and other innovative techniques, including a 18-foot-tall hydroponic vertical growing system.
Other features include displays on everything from creating square watermelons to rating chili peppers by a heat index.
"Our Global Kitchen: Food, Nature, Culture" runs at the American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th Street, through the beginning of August.