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Exhibition: Cabinet of Culinary Curiosities, September 2010-February 2011

This charming watercolor drawing attributed to William Mulready (1786-1863) is one of three which depict cats dressed as English gentry and engaging in the pastimes of the nobility: hunting (mice, not fox), socializing, and featured here, dining.

Exhibition on view September 5, 2010 through February 28, 2011. Also available to view online.

September 5, 2010 - February 28, 2011
Morgan Gallery & Book Arts Gallery
(Neilson Library, Levels 1 & 3)

Six recipes for puff pastry from 1669 to 1970. Eating ice cream in France in the late 19th century. Dining with gladiatorial entertainment. These are just three of the offerings in Cabinet of Culinary Curiosities: Books & Manuscripts from the Mortimer Rare Book Room. Other items on display feature: a tribute to Julia Child and her fellow Smith College classmate, cooking teacher, and writer, Charlotte Turgeon; Jack Sprat and the space race; cooking and dining for kings, queens, and mice; and French opinions about Chinese food and table manners. This array of more than fifty culinary curiosities from books and manuscripts features images and descriptions of food and eating from the 16th through the 21st centuries.

A cabinet of curiosities is a private collection of esoterica from the realms of natural history, geology, archaeology, religious relics, artwork, and antiquity. The classic style of these cabinets emerged in the 16th century as one or more rooms overflowing with fascinating objects. Cabinet of Culinary Curiosities was created as a component of Table for Ten: The Art, History and Science of Food, a series of exhibitions and events organized for the fall of 2010 by Museums10, a group of museum and historical sites here in the Pioneer Valley. Most of the items in the exhibition are from the Mortimer Rare Book Room; a few gems have been borrowed from the Smith College Archives and the curator's own culinary collection.


Mortimer Rare Book Room
Neilson Library
(413) 585-2906