MOHAI’s Edible City Opens Saturday

The new exhibit takes a hard look at how and why we eat the way we do.
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Curator Rebekah Denn explains the local history of the Cinnabon.

It’s taken two years and hundreds of people and countless leads chased by curator Rebekah Denn, but finally Edible City, an exhibit that illustrates Seattle’s food history, is ready for its big debut at MOHAI.

The impressively comprehensive exhibit opens upstairs in the South Lake Union museum on Saturday, with an all-day, family-friendly celebration that includes tours, talks, and tastes—Denn says one of the greatest challenges has been how to talk about food without actually being able to have food in the exhibit hall. This event, and others like it that will take place through Sept. 10, 2017, fixes that problem. 

Denn, a two-time James Beard award winner and local food writer extraordinaire, has taken on the incredibly daunting task of packaging nearly 100-plus years of food history into a digestible (hardy har) experience for the uninitiated. The exhibit is divided into categories: Raw Ingredients, like the fish and berries and mushrooms that geographically define our cuisine; Processing and Prepping, which features a look at the original Monorail espresso cart; To Market, To Market, a love note to not just Pike Place Market but also our local farmers markets; Bringing It Home, a look at community gardens and sustainability; Cooking Tech-niques, whose punny name makes a reference to Modernist Cuisine and the local food-oriented startups; and our personal favorite, Serving It Up, which focuses on the rich history of Seattle’s restaurant scene and its key players, and includes a mockup of Canlis’ Table 1, complete with kimonos.

Allow at least an hour to peruse the exhibit, as you’ll want to take in every artifact, every caption, every video. If you get a chance to attend one of the events where Denn is present, do it—she’s a wealth of information, and has all sorts of trivia and backstories that there simply wasn’t room enough to include in the hall.

South Lake Union, 860 Terry Ave. N; 206.324.1126; mohai.org. 

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