Find Out What's For Dinner At MODA's Latest Exhibition

By 24 Hour Museum Staff | 12 May 2006
a photograph of sliver cutlery against a black background

From guilty eating to the snobbishness attached to certain supermarkets, What's For Dinner lifts the lid on British eating habits. Picture courtesy MODA

Half a century of British eating habits are explored in a new exhibition running at the Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture (MODA) until October 29 2006.

What's for Dinner looks at some of the changes that have occurred in our eating habits over the past fifty years by bringing together video interviews, anecdotes, statistics, advertisements, photographs, recipes, magazines, packaging and utensils.

MODA is concerned with the history of ‘ordinary’ domestic spaces and the changing ways in which people have inhabited their homes. The new exhibition highlights some of these changes that have occurred in the last twenty years and how meals and snacks structure our day.

a vintage poster advertisng bread with a painting of a family around the tv

In the 1950s and 60s the majority of families ate their main meal together five or six times a week. Today one in seven prefer to eat in front of the TV rather than with other people. Picture courtesy MODA

Fewer people now eat meals in a separate dining room and an open plan kitchen diner has increasingly become one of the features most favoured by prospective home-buyers.

Food and eating habits are also revealed to be intimately linked to our ideas about domesticity and home; home is the place where we are fed and nurtured when we are young and memories of home are closely linked to memories of food and cooking smells.

Food also helps us to define our identities – giving weight to the adage ‘we are what we eat’ – and the exhibition highlights how we define others who eat things that we consider to be strange, dangerous or disgusting.

a set of 1970s set of kitchen jars

Loud cooking utensils from the 1970s may be familiar to some visitors. Picture courtesy MODA.

In the 1950s and 60s the majority of families ate their main meal together five or six times a week. Now according to a recent poll only about half of UK adults sit down to eat with other members of their family every day. One in seven prefer to eat in front of the TV rather than with other people.

MODA has amassed some intriguing items to back up its theories – from vintage posters advertising bread to loud cooking utensils from the 1970s - many of which may be familiar to many visitors.

How we eat, where we eat, what we eat and with whom reflects both our place in the social diversity of Britain today and this fascinating exhibtion allows us to think in different ways about how food continues to influnece our attitudes, relationships and lives.

a photograph of two patterned blue jars

Picture courtesy MODA

Two students from Middlesex University’s Sonic Arts course have produced soundscapes on the theme of food and eating to accompany the exhibition. Find out more at www.sonic.mdx.ac.uk

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