NM: Santa Fe

WHERE: Museum of International Folk Art.

WHEN: On view through January 5, 2014.

New World Cuisine

TITLE: New World Cuisine: The Histories of Chocolate, Mate y Más

ABOUT: This exhibition explores how foods around the world developed from mixing the old and the new, and how many of the tastiest dishes and desserts came to be associated with New Mexico.

     The mixing of peoples and foods—the fusion of cultures and traditions referred to as mestizaje—began in August 1598. It was then that Juan de Oñate’s 500-strong expedition of soldiers, families, and Franciscan friars settled in New Mexico on the fertile and irrigated farmland of the Tewa Pueblos of Yungue and Okhay, located at the confluence of the Chama and Rio Grande Rivers.

     But the ingredients for change were tossed into the melting pot a century before by Christopher Columbus when foods from the Old World were mixed with those of the new and brought improvements from farm to table.

     The Old World gained new staple crops, including potatoes, sweet potatoes, maize, and cassava. Tomatoes, chili peppers, cacao, peanuts, and pineapples also were introduced, and some became culinary centerpieces in many Old World countries: the tomato in Mediterranean countries Italy, Greece, and Spain; the chili pepper in India, Korea, Thailand, and China, via the Philippines; and paprika made from chili peppers, in Hungary.

chocolatestoragejar     More than 300 objects from the museum’s vast collection of historical culinary items related to food harvesting, preparation, table settings and utilitarian and decorative implements.

     Some examples are Asian and European spice jars retrofitted with intricately detailed locking metal lids in Mexico City to protect a household’s cacao from thieves; traditional pottery cooking vessels re-imagined by metal smiths using hammered copper to accommodate the molinillo used to froth chocolate; talavera kitchen and tableware modeled after Chinese import porcelains; fine antique and contemporary silverware from Europe and the Americas.

     “It’s such a fabulous history,” curator Nicolasa Chávez said. “We’re borrowing one tiny pottery sherd from Chaco Canyon that was tested for the obroma (chocolate’s scientific name). I wanted that in the exhibit to really bring home to New Mexico that we’ve had a 1,000-year-old love affair with chocolate.”

MORE DETAILS: http://internationalfolkart.org. or call Nick at  505.476.1219.

Published by on December 2012. Filed under Archives, At the Museums dept, New Mexico, Palette News Arts Network/PNAN, PaletteBoards Section. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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