‘African/American: Making the Nation's Table' Honors Black Culinary Talent Throughout History

By Gabrielle Pharms | November 30, 2021

The New York City-based Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD) will open its newest exhibition, African/American: Making the Nation’s Table, on February 2, 2022, in the newly built space at The Africa Center at Aliko Dangote Hall.

Curated by Dr. Jessica B. Harris, distinguished as the world’s leading expert on the foods of the African diaspora, and hosted in partnership with The Africa Center, African/American will be the country’s first exhibition giving recognition to the numerous Black chefs, farmers, and food and drink makers who have laid the foundation for American food culture.

“In every corner of the globe, African customs have permeated societies, often in unknown or unacknowledged ways,” says Uzodinma Iweala, CEO of The Africa Center, in a statement. “We are excited that African/American will premiere at The Africa Center, and that visitors will engage with the many African food traditions found in American cuisine right here in Harlem, the place known around the world for the vibrancy, rich flavors, and dynamism of the African American cultural experience.”

A key feature of African/American will be the Ebony Test Kitchen (pictured below), rebuilt and restored by MOFAD. The Ebony Test Kitchen was a vibrant staple of Black home cooking in the mid-20th century, from which Ebony Magazine food editors tested recipes for the iconic “A Date with a Dish” column.  Another highlight of the exhibition is the display of the Legacy Quilt, which stands at 14 feet tall and nearly 30 feet wide. The quilt pays homage to the contributions of countless Black culinary talent and drink producers who have shaped America’s gastronomic identity.

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“For the very first time, we’ll delve into the many ways African Americans have been at the core of the American culinary experience through a multimedia, interactive exhibition,” says Nazli Parvizi, MOFAD President, in a statement. “It’s a story that has longed to be told in this way, and there is no better place to tell it than at The Africa Center where the contributions of African people and those of African descent to the world are recognized and celebrated, right here in New York City.”

The exhibition will be on view until June 19, 2022. Tickets for MOFAD’s African/American at The Africa Center will be available for purchase beginning January 4, 2022, at mofad.org.

Photography by: Courtesy of Museum of Food and Drink