In May, the Historical Society launched a Taste of New York History, its collection of specialty foods by local producers. The line includes city farmer’s market mainstays like Anarchy in a Jar, Hot Bread Kitchen, Liddabit Sweets, Mast Brothers Chocolate, Morris Kitchen, Sfoglini Pasta and The Good Batch. The culinary offerings are complemented by local food and wine tastings through the society’s on-site Friday Night Bites and Taste of New York Wines programs.
Taste of New York History is only the latest in a trend we’ve noticed–museums showcasing the city via food. The Museum of Natural History also has an exhibit on food through August 11 titled “Our Global Kitchen: Food, Nature, Culture.” Special events with Butter’s Alex Guarnaschelli, Red Rooster Harlem’s Marcus Samuelsson and Eleven Madison Park’s Daniel Humm delve into American culinary traditions, with one workshop focused on New York’s immigrant culinary roots. Before that, the New York Public Library hosted an exhibit called Lunch Hour NYC, all about the history of the meal that for New Yorkers might be the most important one of the day. The exhibit recalled the original “power lunches,” 3 cent school lunches and of course the automat.

From global cuisine courtesy of New York’s immigrant history, to artisan jams made from locally grown fruit, to the ubiquitous soft pretzel sold on street carts, each item carries both a culinary and cultural story that reflect the city’s tasty past and present.
Get in touch with the author @catku.