The Rebirth of the Ebony Test Kitchen, a Home for Black Cuisine

Sophia Hollander in New Yorker:

One morning in January, 2020, a group of curators and officials from the Museum of Food and Drink headed out to the industrial edge of Queens to assess the status of their most high-profile acquisition to date: the Ebony Test Kitchen. The kitchen, originally situated on the tenth floor of the Johnson Publishing Company Building, in downtown Chicago, tested recipes for Ebony magazine’s famed “Date with a Dish” cooking column, which became a touchstone of African American cuisine. “This kitchen, it’s like—I don’t even know if calling it the Black Julia Child’s kitchen does it justice, but it is that important,” Jessica B. Harris, one of the leading scholars of Black culinary history, told me. In 2017, news emerged that the building which housed the kitchen was about to be converted into apartments. To save it, volunteer preservationists rushed in and dismantled the kitchen in a single weekend. They selected mofad as the new stewards. In February, it will finally be put on display, in an exhibition called “African/American: Making the Nation’s Table,” curated by Harris, at the Africa Center, in Harlem. “Let’s hope I keep it together,” Harris told me, as we prepared to head to the Queens warehouse. “Those walls will start shimmering and talking. I probably contributed to some of the grease on them.”

More here. (Note: At least one post throughout the month of February will be devoted to Black History Month. The theme for 2022 is Black Health and Wellness)