Brodhead library's Smithsonian exhibit explores food
If you go
"Key Ingredients—American by Food," a traveling Smithsonian Institution exhibit runs through Friday, June 17 at the Brodhead Public Library, 1207 25th St. The free exhibit is open 10 a.m.- through 7 p.m. Monday, Thursday and Friday; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday; and 1-4 p.m. Sunday. For more information, go online to keyingredientsbrodhead.com.
Related events include:
-- Ho-Chunk Cooking and Gardening Demonstration at 2 p.m. Saturday at Brodhead High School, 2501 W. 5th Ave., Brodhead.
-- Strawberry Sundae Sunday from 2-4 p.m. Sunday at Veterans Memorial Park, 1st Center Avenue and 12th Street, Brodhead.
BRODHEAD Here are five things you'll learn at "Key Ingredients—American by Food," a traveling Smithsonian Institution exhibit that runs through Friday, June 17, at the Brodhead Public Library:
1. Much of life revolves around food. Thousands of food festivals attract millions of Americans annually, and photos and history of the role food plays in cultures and society is displayed throughout. The exhibit explores the connections between people and the foods we produce, prepare, preserve and present.
"Food is a symbol of hospitality," said Marissa Rodriguez, a library volunteer for the exhibit, pointing to photos of a family potluck and a White House dinner.
2. Local facts. What do pickles, potato chips and popcorn have in common? All were made in Brodhead at one point. Though none of the factories operate today, the city's industry included The Red Dot Potato Chip factory, Pate Popcorn and Colony Foods.
Colony Foods in 1944 established a receiving station for cucumbers grown under contract on 17 acres, according to a news story at the exhibit. A local newspaper at the time reported the government had classified pickles as an essential food for the men serving on the battlefront. An advertisement told people how to grow cucumbers, and the factory wanted cucumbers 1.5 inches and bigger.
3. Food origin. Nachos are Mexican, and fortune cookies are Chinese, right?
Nachos supposedly were concocted at a State Fair of Texas concession stand in 1964.
Fortune cookies are possibly the brainchild of Makoto Hagiwara, who served cookies with notes at his Japanese tea garden in San Francisco in 1914. Today, most fortune cookies are made in Queens, NY.
4. Some things are really old. The French innovation of preserving cooked food by sealing it in airtight vessels was brought to the United States in 1819. By the 1830s, canning expanded from glass jars to sturdy tin canisters.
Making popcorn also made technological strides since 1900, moving from metal pots and wire baskets to microwaves. Archeologists found popcorn more than 5,000 years old in a New Mexico cave.
5. How to pluck a chicken. A Greenbrier Poultry Picker used until the late 1940s is on display from the Brodhead Historical Society. Kids will find other hands-on items including samples of wool from a local farm and a food origin quiz.