I noticed an advertisement last week on the metro about a new exhibit at the National Archives building called, What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam? I was instantly intrigued – an exhibit about food? I planned my visit immediately.
Typically, the National Archives is known for important documents such as, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Call me naive, but I didn’t know there was much more to see.
What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam? displays documents, magazines, advertisements and more that show the positions Americans and their government have taken towards food throughout the history of the U.S. More specifically, the exhibit covers topics such as the changing messages of what foods are healthy and what foods aren’t, increasing government regulation of what goes into our food, and how events in history shape our perception of food.
For example, did you know that during World War II, the government released a food wheel, similar to the modern-day food pyramid, that included BUTTER as its own food group? Hard to believe, right?
Aside from the ridiculous food wheel, I especially loved President Eisenhower’s Vegetable Soup recipe that was on display in the exhibit. Apparently, the former president was quite the cook. I found a copy of it online here – http://www.eisenhower.archives.gov/all_about_ike/favorites/vegetable_soup.pdf. I have to say I’m impressed – this guy knew how to make a serious homemade soup.
The National Archives is currently open seven days a week, 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam? is located in the O’Brien Gallery and runs until January 3, 2012. I highly recommend this exhibit – it’s well-done with interesting facts and plenty of entertaining photos, images and documents.