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Smithsonian’s America by Food exhibit to run through July

Almost everybody loves food. But exactly how much do you know about how Americans set the table?

There’s a chance to find out, starting this weekend. The Smithsonian’s newest Museum on Main Street traveling exhibit, titled “Key Ingredients: America by Food,” made its Missouri debut at the Ste. Genevieve County Community Center on June 26.

The exhibit highlights some of the most interesting elements of the way in which America produces, prepares and puts its food on the table. The huge display (it takes up about 1,000 square feet) uses photos, graphics, text and ‘touchables’ to illuminate topics ranging from the role of sharecroppers in farming, to how technological developments have changed the American kitchen.

The grand opening for the exhibit was held June 26.

The exhibit is free and will be available for touring during the center’s regular hours of operation through early July.

Throughout July, additional programs and events will be scheduled at the center and elsewhere in the community in connection with the exhibit. Highlights are listed here:

July 4 – American Pie on the Fourth of July. A baking contest to be staged at Ste. Genevieve’s Pere Marquette Park, in conjunction with the Ste. Genevieve Chamber of Commerce July 4 event. From 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m., participants will taste small samples of pies and vote for their favorite entry. Winners will be announced at 3:30 p.m.

€ July 17 – The Colossal Cookbook Swap. Bring your old cookbooks to the center and swap them with other cooks. Books may be traded and/or bought and sold. (A fee of $10 per table will be charged for those with multiple books who wish to set up as ‘dealers’ at the event. Cooking and food-related items also may be sold by table dealers. Register for a table at the center. The deadline is July 13.) Admission to the swap will be $2 per person. The swap will run from noon p.m. to 3 p.m.

€ July 20 – A gourmet cooking class offered at the center by Ellie Douglas, featuring the creation of healthy haute cuisine. (A fee of $10 per person will be charged to cover the cost of the program. Register by July 8 at the center.)

€ July 31 – Picnic at the Center. Bring your picnic lunch to the center and settle in for an afternoon of music, food and fun. The county’s kniffley cooks are invited to participate in the 2005 Liver Kniffley Knockdown by bringing a sample of their knifflies to the center at 1 p.m. Judges will taste the tasty noodles and award prizes at 3:30 p.m.

“The list of activities that will be carried out during the exhibit is a menu for fun,” says committee member Matt Trautman, program director for the center. “We hope everyone will join us for these events.”

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