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Ebony Test Kitchen to Be at the Center of Food and Drink Museum Exhibit

The iconic kitchen where recipes that appeared in EBONY magazine were tested for decades will anchor the upcoming exhibition.

The Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD), the museum that brings the world of food to life with exhibits you can taste, touch and smell, will launch its newest exhibition, African/American: Making the Nation’s Table at The Africa Center in late February 2020 in New York City. 

The exhibit, curated by Dr. Jessica B. Harris, who is widely considered the world’s foremost expert on the foods of the African Diaspora, will be the country’s first to celebrate the countless Black chefs, farmers, and food and drink producers who have laid the foundation for American food culture, recognition that is long overdue.

“The goal of African/American is really twofold: To create a deep appreciation for the profound impact that African-Americans have had on American cuisine, and to bring diverse audiences together around a table to celebrate our shared culinary identity,” says Peter J. Kim, MOFAD’s executive director.“We are profoundly grateful to The Africa Center for providing us the space and the guidance to share these absolutely crucial, undersung stories.”

Anchoring African/American will be the Ebony Test Kitchen, the psychedelic staple of Black home cooking in the mid-20th century where EBONY magazine tested recipes for its iconic, long-running “Date with a Dish” column.  

EBONY not only celebrated and also helped popularize African-American food as American food. The kitchen was offered for sale years after the Johnson Publishing Company moved out of its former headquarters in Chicago; MOFAD won a competitive bid for it, preserving this piece of classic African-Americana, and hopes to take it on tour to centers of African-American life across the country, in cities including Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New Orleans and Memphis.  

Legendary musician and tastemaker Questlove will curate the music for the kitchen, and videos of EBONY editors talking about the kitchen will give visitors a more profound first-person understanding of its cultural importance. 

For more information on the upcoming African/American exhibit, visit MOFAD’s website, mofad.org.

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