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New World Cuisine: Chocolate, Mate y Mas

An exploration of the dawn of world cuisine as we know—and consume—it today opens December 9, 2012 at the Museum of International Folk Art with New World Cuisine: The Histories of Chocolate, Mate Y Más. The exhibition runs through January 5, 2014.On view will be more than 300 objects 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 reimagined 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. All provide insight into the importance placed on crafting exquisite food vessels and implements—and that you are what you eat with.

“It’s such a fabulous history,” curator Nicolasa Chávez said. “We’re borrowing one little teeny tiny pottery sherd from Chaco Canyon that was tested for theobroma (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.”

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