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Found 201 Resources

Cooking Pot Fragment

NMNH - Anthropology Dept.

Dining car [cooks] [acetate film photonegative,] February, 1949

Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Reproduction print exhibited in "The Scurlock Studio and Black Washington: Picturing the Promise," NMAAHC Gallery, NMAH, January 30 - November 15, 2009; image reproduced in exhibit's companion book.

Good condition.

Dining car cooks posing in front of kitchen. No ink on negative, no Scurlock number. "5 ANSCO SAFETY FILM" edge imprint.

Photographic print of four men cooking in a commerical kitchen

National Museum of African American History and Culture
A black and white photograph of four unidentified men cooking in a commercial kitchen. The man closest to the camera leans down in front of an open oven and stirs the contents of a large pan with a spatula. A second man wearing a chef's hat stands to the first man's proper right, watching the first man work. Behind these two men are two more men at a counter opposite the oven looking inside a large Dutch oven. The back of the photograph has two barcode stickers at the top and a yellow circular sticker at center right.

Stockpot used to cook collard greens at the Florida Avenue Grill

National Museum of African American History and Culture
A large metal stockpot with handles, used to cook collard greens at the Florida Avenue Grill restaurant in Washington, DC. The pot is cylindrical with a rolled lip. Two (2) handles are bolted into the sides of the pot below the top rim with four (4) bolts each. The entire lower exterior half of the stockpot is charred and blackened from use. No manufacturer's mark is visible.

Sketch of Astronauts Dining

National Air and Space Museum
Sketch of Astronauts Dining. The head and shoulders of two astronauts are loosely sketched as they eat. The table is not defined but there are outlines of dishes in front of the astronauts. The astronaut on the left has shading on the lower half of his face and neck and the astronaut on the right is shaded with heavier strokes.

In March 1962, James Webb, Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, suggested that artists be enlisted to document the historic effort to send the first human beings to the moon. John Walker, director of the National Gallery of Art, was among those who applauded the idea, urging that artists be encouraged "…not only to record the physical appearance of the strange new world which space technology is creating, but to edit, select and probe for the inner meaning and emotional impact of events which may change the destiny of our race."

Working together, James Dean, a young artist employed by the NASA Public Affairs office, and Dr. H. Lester Cooke, curator of paintings at the National Gallery of Art, created a program that dispatched artists to NASA facilities with an invitation to paint whatever interested them. The result was an extraordinary collection of works of art proving, as one observer noted, "that America produced not only scientists and engineers capable of shaping the destiny of our age, but also artists worthy to keep them company." Transferred to the National Air and Space Museum in 1975, the NASA art collection remains one of the most important elements of what has become perhaps the world's finest collection of aerospace themed art.

The spring of 1962 was a busy time for the men and women of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. On February 20, John H. Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth. For the first time since the launch of Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957, the U.S. was positioned to match and exceed Soviet achievements in space. NASA was an agency with a mission -- to meet President John F. Kennedy's challenge of sending human beings to the moon and returning them safely to earth by the end of the decade. Within a year, three more Mercury astronauts would fly into orbit. Plans were falling into place for a follow-on series of two-man Gemini missions that would set the stage for the Apollo voyages to the moon.

In early March 1962, artist Bruce Stevenson brought his large portrait of Alan Shepard, the first American to fly in space, to NASA headquarters.(1) James E. Webb, the administrator of NASA, assumed that the artist was interested in painting a similar portrait of all seven of the Mercury astronauts. Instead, Webb voiced his preference for a group portrait that would emphasize "…the team effort and the togetherness that has characterized the first group of astronauts to be trained by this nation." More important, the episode convinced the administrator that "…we should consider in a deliberate way just what NASA should do in the field of fine arts to commemorate the …historic events" of the American space program.(2)

In addition to portraits, Webb wanted to encourage artists to capture the excitement and deeper meaning of space flight. He imagined "a nighttime scene showing the great amount of activity involved in the preparation of and countdown for launching," as well as paintings that portrayed activities in space. "The important thing," he concluded, "is to develop a policy on how we intend to treat this matter now and in the next several years and then to get down to the specifics of how we intend to implement this policy…." The first step, he suggested, was to consult with experts in the field, including the director of the National Gallery of Art, and the members of the Fine Arts Commission, the arbiters of architectural and artistic taste who passed judgment on the appearance of official buildings and monuments in the nation's capital.

Webb's memo of March 16, 1962 was the birth certificate of the NASA art program. Shelby Thompson, the director of the agency's Office of Educational Programs and Services, assigned James Dean, a young artist working as a special assistant in his office, to the project. On June 19, 1962 Thompson met with the Fine Arts Commission, requesting advice as to how "…NASA should develop a basis for use of paintings and sculptures to depict significant historical events and other activities in our program."(3)

David E. Finley, the chairman and former director of the National Gallery of Art, applauded the idea, and suggested that the agency should study the experience of the U.S. Air Force, which had amassed some 800 paintings since establishing an art program in 1954. He also introduced Thompson to Hereward Lester Cooke, curator of paintings at the National Gallery of Art.

An imposing bear of a man standing over six feet tall, Lester Cooke was a graduate of Yale and Oxford, with a Princeton PhD. The son of a physics professor and a veteran of the U.S. Army Air Forces, he was both fascinated by science and felt a personal connection to flight. On a professional level, Cooke had directed American participation in international art competitions and produced articles and illustrations for the National Geographic Magazine. He jumped at the chance to advise NASA on its art program.

While initially cautious with regard to the time the project might require of one of his chief curators, John Walker, director of the National Gallery, quickly became one of the most vocal supporters of the NASA art initiative. Certain that "the present space exploration effort by the United States will probably rank among the more important events in the history of mankind," Walker believed that "every possible method of documentation …be used." Artists should be expected "…not only to record the physical appearance of the strange new world which space technology is creating, but to edit, select and probe for the inner meaning and emotional impact of events which may change the destiny of our race." He urged quick action so that "the full flavor of the achievement …not be lost," and hoped that "the past held captive" in any paintings resulting from the effort "will prove to future generations that America produced not only scientists and engineers capable of shaping the destiny of our age, but also artists worthy to keep them company."(4)

Gordon Cooper, the last Mercury astronaut to fly, was scheduled to ride an Atlas rocket into orbit on May 15, 1963. That event would provide the ideal occasion for a test run of the plan Cooke and Dean evolved to launch the art program. In mid-February, Cooke provided Thompson with a list of the artists who should be invited to travel to Cape Canaveral to record their impressions of the event. Andrew Wyeth, whom the curator identified as "the top artist in the U.S. today," headed the list. When the time came, however, Andrew Wyeth did not go to the Cape for the Cooper launch, but his son Jamie would participate in the program during the Gemini and Apollo years.

The list of invited artists also included Peter Hurd, Andrew Wyeth's brother-in-law, who had served as a wartime artist with the Army Air Force; George Weymouth, whom Wyeth regarded as "the best of his pupils"; and John McCoy, another Wyeth associate. Cooke regarded the next man on the list, Robert McCall, who had been running the Air Force art program, as "America's top aero-space illustrator. Paul Calle and Robert Shore had both painted for the Air Force program. Mitchell Jamieson, who had run a unit of the Navy art program during WW II, rounded out the program. Alfred Blaustein was the only artist to turn down the invitation.

The procedures that would remain in place for more than a decade were given a trial run in the spring of 1963. The artists received an $800 commission, which had to cover any expenses incurred while visiting a NASA facility where they could paint whatever interested them. In return, they would present their finished pieces, and all of their sketches, to the space agency. The experiment was a success, and what might have been a one-time effort to dispatch artists to witness and record the Gordon Cooper flight provided the basis for an on-going, if small-scale, program. By the end of 1970, Jim Dean and Lester Cooke had dispatched 38 artists to Mercury, Gemini and Apollo launches and to other NASA facilities.

The art program became everything that Jim Webb had hoped it would be. NASA artists produced stunning works of art that documented the agency's step-by-step progress on the way to the moon. The early fruits of the program were presented in a lavishly illustrated book, Eyewitness to Space (New York: Abrams, 1971). Works from the collection illustrated NASA publications and were the basis for educational film strips aimed at school children. In 1965 and again in 1969 the National Gallery of Art mounted two major exhibitions of work from the NASA collection. The USIA sent a selection of NASA paintings overseas, while the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service created two exhibitions of NASA art that toured the nation.

"Since we …began," Dean noted in a reflection on the tenth anniversary of the program, the art initiative had resulted in a long string of positive "press interviews and reports, congressional inquiries, columns in the Congressional Record, [and] White House reports." The NASA effort, he continued, had directly inspired other government art programs. "The Department of the Interior (at least two programs), the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Army and even the Veterans Administration have, or are starting, art programs." While he could not take all of the credit, Dean insisted that "our success has encouraged other agencies to get involved and they have succeeded, too."(5)

For all of that, he noted, it was still necessary to "defend" the role of art in the space agency. Dean, with the assistance of Lester Cooke, had been a one-man show, handling the complex logistics of the program, receiving and cataloguing works of art, hanging them himself in museums or on office walls, and struggling to find adequate storage space. In January 1976, a NASA supervisor went so far as to comment that: "Mr. Dean is far too valuable in other areas to spend his time on the relatively menial …jobs he is often burdened with in connection with the art program."(6) Dean placed a much higher value on the art collection, and immediately recommended that NASA officials either devote additional resources to the program, or get out of the art business and turn the existing collection over the National Air and Space Museum, "where it can be properly cared for."(7)

In January 1974 a new building for the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) was taking shape right across the street from NASA headquarters. Discussions regarding areas of cooperation were already underway between NASA officials and museum director Michael Collins, who had flown to the moon as a member of the Apollo 11 crew. Before the end of the year, the space agency had transferred its art collection to the NASM. Mike Collins succeeded in luring Jim Dean to the museum, as well.

The museum already maintained a small art collection, including portraits of aerospace heroes, an assortment of 18th and 19th century prints illustrating the early history of the balloon, an eclectic assortment of works portraying aspects of the history of aviation and a few recent prizes, including several Norman Rockwell paintings of NASA activity. With the acquisition of the NASA art, the museum was in possession of one of the world's great collections of art exploring aerospace themes. Jim Dean would continue to build the NASM collection as the museum's first curator of art. Following his retirement in 1980, other curators would follow in his footsteps, continuing to strengthen the role of art at the NASM. Over three decades after its arrival, however, the NASA art accession of 2,091 works still constitutes almost half of the NASM art collection.

(1) Stevenson's portrait is now in the collection of the National Air and Space Museum (1981-627)

(2) James E. Webb to Hiden Cox, March 16, 1962, memorandum in the NASA art historical collection, Aeronautics Division, National air and Space Museum. Webb's preference for a group portrait of the astronauts was apparently not heeded. In the end, Stevenson painted an individual portrait of John Glenn, which is also in the NASM collection (1963-398).

(3) Shelby Thompson, memorandum for the record, July 6, 1962, NASA art historical collection, NASA, Aeronautics Division.

(4) John Walker draft of a talk, March 5, 1965, copy in NASA Art historical collection, NASM Aeronautics Division.

(5) James Dean, memorandum for the record, August 6, 1973, NASA art history collection, NASM Aeronautics Division.

(6) Director of Planning and Media Development to Assistant Administrator for Public Affairs, January 24, 1974, NASA art history collection, NASM Aeronautics Division.

(7) James Dean to the Assistant Administrator for Public Affairs, January 24, 1974, copy in NASA Art history Collection, Aeronautics Division, NASM.

Tom D. Crouch

Senior Curator, Aeronautics

National Air and Space Museum

Smithsonian Institution

July 26, 2007

What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking

National Museum of African American History and Culture
This is a small hardcopy book with a red cloth cover. On the front in gilt letters are the words [What / Mrs. Fisher / Knows / About / Old Southern Cooking]. The words "What" and "Know" are surrounded by a rectangular gilt outline. Set at an angle across this rectangle is a second gilt rectangle enclosing the words "Mrs. Fisher." There are abstract floral, wheel, and spindle shaped designs in gilt at both ends of the two rectangles. The cover is textured with small bumps. There are numerous stains scattered across the cover. On the title page is an archival repair to the bottom of the title-page, with a few words provided in facsimile. On the first blank page is a handwritten inscription.

The Picayune Creole Cook Book

National Museum of African American History and Culture
A hardback copy of the sixth edition of the Picayune Creole Cook Book which has in total 390 off-white pages separated into different categories of Creole cuisine in several distinct chapters. The front cover is beige, with some slight darker discoloration around the edges, and features a dark blue ink illustration in its center. The drawing depicts a woman in a polka-dot blouse with rolled up sleeves, a checkered skirt, an apron around her waist, and a head wrap covering her hair, stirring the contents of a large bowl. A pitcher sits next to the bowl on the table; above the image is the book's title centered in a dark blue label which reads [PICAYUNE / CREOLE/ COOK / BOOK]. The interior of the front cover has a sticker featuring a black-and-white landscape/exterior shot from the visual perspective of a covered patio; [EX LIBRIS/ANITA BALDWIN] is written into the scene on the bottom and top rails of the patio. There are three handwritten notes on the interior of the front cover, [Not to be taken] underlined and repeated on the top right of the first blank title page. [Anita M. Baldwin / (illegible)] is centered on the first blank title page. The first interior page is 3/4 full of handwritten penciled text. There are pencil marks throughout the text which scratch out the word "carrots" from recipes which include them as an ingredient.

Cooking His Breakfast; Augusta, Ga

National Museum of African American History and Culture
A cabinet card with an albumen print of an unidentified man sitting in a dirt yard near a wooden structure. The man is sitting on an overturned wooden crate near a short homemade oven made from stacked bricks. A kettle and other cooking implements are gathered near the oven and the man's crate. He looks at the photographer and has his arms crossed and propped onto his thighs. A short wooden structure held up by two large sticks is in the left background. In the right background is a larger wooden structure with a sloped shingled roof that is made from boards, with several additional boards and sticks used to prop up the original structure. The print is mounted on gray cardboard. An inscription handwritten on the reverse reads, "Cooking his breakfast / Augusta Ga".

Southern Cook Book of Fine Old Dixie Recipes

National Museum of African American History and Culture
A 48 page booklet containing various recipes attributed to the cooking traditions of the American South. The front cover bears the title [SOUTHERN / COOK BOOK / Of / Fine Old Dixie Recipes] and the text [322 Fine Tested Recipes / 40 Characteristic Illustrations / 50 Poems and Spirituals]. The cover illustration is of two women and a child standing in a kitchen around a table. The older woman wears a blue dress and white apron and headscarf. She stands behind the table and stirs a mixing bowl. A younger woman in a floral patterned blue and orange dress with matching headscarf stands in front of the table with her hand resting on it, facing the older woman. A young girl with pigtails and an orange quilted dress stands with her back to the viewer and her hands up on the table. A plaque hangs on the wall between the two women and reads [A Good Dinner / Sharpens the Wits / and / Softens the Heart]. The artist's signature is in the lower lefthand corner.

The book itself is divided into 22 different categories: Appetizers, Beverages, Bread and Biscuits, Cakes, Candies, Eggs, Fritters Pancakes Waffles and Mush, Fruit and Vegetables, Icings, Jellies and Jams, Meat, Meat and Poultry Stuffing, Misc. Items, Pies, Potatoes, Poultry, Puddings, Salads and Relishes, Sauces and Dressings, Sea Food, Small Cakes and Cookies, and Soups.

Most pages in the book contain a charcoal pencil illustration in the bottom left or right hand corner. These illustrations are predominantly of men, women, and children performing labors and eating or preparing food with a few landscape vignettes. Often the drawing seems in part to be an illustration of a few lines of song or poem that accompanies it.

Two sections of verse, "De Cote House In De Sky" and "Oh, Elephant, You Shall Be Free!" are printed on the inside of the front and back covers, respectively.

Colander used by Chef Joseph Randall

National Museum of African American History and Culture
A metal colander with circular base and circular bowl. There are metal handles on sides of colander and numerous round holes in the bowl for straining. The exterior of bowl is copper.

Magnalite pot used by Chef Leah Chase at Dooky Chase restaurant

National Museum of African American History and Culture
A 3-quart "Magnalite Classic"-brand pot manufactured by World Kitchen, LLC. The pot and handles are single-piece cast aluminum. The lid is from the same material excepting the handle. The bottom of the pot reads [Magnalite® / CLASSIC / 3Qt./2.8L / Made in China / R01j].

A Taste of Heritage: The New African American Cuisine

National Museum of African American History and Culture
Paperback cook book titled, "A Taste of Heritage: the new African American cuisine". Book has predominantly red cover, with orange, black, yellow, and green geometric patterns running vertically along left side. Yellow, white, green, and black type appear on front cover reading, [A Taste of / HERITAGE / the new / AFRICAN-AMERICAN / cuisine / CHEF JOE RANDALL & TONI TIPTON-MARTIN]. Front of book features color photograph by Dennis Gottlieb of a plate full of various types of food. First page of book is signed by Chef Joe Randall. Foreward by Marcel Desaulniers

Menu from Dooky Chase's Restaurant

National Museum of African American History and Culture
Paper menu for Dooky Chase's Restaurant, housed in a plastic and leather menu holder. Menu consists of a single sided piece of paper with black type. In large type at TC of paper is, [DOOKY CHASE'S]. Menu is split into six sections: "APPETIZERS", "SEAFOOD", "POULTRY & MEATS", "SIDES", "DESSERTS", and "CHILDREN'S MENU". The dishes listed include Dooky Chase signatures such as Fried Chicken, Shrimp Clemenceau, Chicken Creole, and Stuffed Shrimp. Menu holder has clear plastic front and back, with a maroon leather border and decorated metal corners.

Postcard of a fish dealer

National Museum of African American History and Culture
Postcard of a tinted black and white photograph of a man selling fish out of a wheeled cart on a street. The man stands on the right side of the image with his right hand on the card. In his left hand he holds a large fish. The cart is in the lower half of the image, centrally located. In the background on the left side in the upper left quadrant is a building under construction. In the upper right corner is printed text in black "The Fish Dealer." In the lower right corner is additional text in black listing the copyright date and holders "Copyright 1909 by / E.S. Blakely & / F. H. Hearan." The back of postcard is divided into two sections by black text in the top center reading "POST CARD / THIS SPACE FOR CORRESPONDENCE / THIS SPACE FOR ADDRESS ONLY." In the top right corner is text in black "PLACE STAMP HERE."

Postcard of a nut cake vendor

National Museum of African American History and Culture
Postcard of a black and white photograph of a seated woman selling nut cakes from paper resting on her lap. The woman looks off to the right. She holds the paper in her lap with cakes layered under the paper. In her PR hand she holds a large fan. She wears a dark shawl and a blanket covers her knees and legs. Below the image, along the bottom, is a white rectangle with text within listing the manufacturer and image caption "SOUVENIR POST CARD CO N.Y. / 16804-Nut Cake Vender." The back of the postcard is dividing into two sections. Green printed text and lines cover the back. "Post Card / This space may be used for Correspondence / The address only to be Written Here / PLACE STAMP HERE / DOMESTIC ONE CENT / FOREIGN TWO CENTS."

Menu for AGIP restaurant in Rome

National Museum of African American History and Culture
A quarter folded menu from a restaurant run by Italian petrol company, AGIP (Azienda Generale Italiana Petroli—General Italian Oil Company). The front of the menu features stylized black and white illustrations of restaurant staff engaged in various activities. At the top right corner is the restaurant name in large block letters [AGIP]. The figures include a chef stirring a pot, a sommelier with a wine bottle and glass, three (3) waiters, two of which hold trays of drinks. The third waiter is seen with a dessert cart. The menu is divided into two main sections: Fixed Price and À La Carte. The À La Carte menu is further divided into Hors D'oeuvres & Specialties, Soups & Pasta, Meat Dishes, Vegetables, Eggs & Cold Dishes, Cheese, Desserts & Fruits, and Wines & Mineral Water. The text is written in English, Italian, German, and French translations and is illustrated with several further cartoon chefs. One of the interior pages is dedicated to encouraging customers to give feedback as well as the address of the restaurant and an illustration of the AGIP logo, a six legged dog.

Postcard of a banana and pineapple vendor

National Museum of African American History and Culture
Postcard of a tinted black and white photograph of a cart carrying bananas and pineapples. The cart is diagonally oriented away from the viewer with the back closest to the camera. On the right side of the image is the hindquarters of a horse. The cart is driven by a man, seated at the front. He holds a whip aloft. Behind the cart is a house. In the upper right corner is printed black text "Pineapples/and Bananas." The back of the postcard is divided into two sections. On the left half of the back is hand-written text in black ink "don't forget / the place / Bradentown / Fla." On the right half of the back is additional hand-written text in black ink "Miss H. Fright (?) / Crandle Road / Tiverton R. I." In the upper right corner is a green, cancelled, one cent stamp.

Postcard of a produce vendor

National Museum of African American History and Culture
Tinted postcard of a black and white photograph of a man holding up a goose for a woman.The man stands on the left side and in his right arm is a basket full of produce. He holds the goose in his left hand. He stands with his left foot on a stair step. The woman stands on the right side holding up her hands. She stands in the doorway of a wood structure. In the upper left corner is red text with handwritten text below "A GOOD TIME / COMING / McComb." The back of the postcard is divided into two halves with green printing throughout. On the left side is a line of vertical text in green text "5659 Adolph Selige, Pub. Co. St. Louis-Leipzig. Printed in Germany." On the left half of the back is hand-written text in black ink "March + I will / tackle the / native black / bass tomorrow. will you eat / with us? / Pop." On the right side is space for the address hand written in black ink [Edward H. Mitchell/Washington University/St. Louis/Mo.]. In the upper right corner is a green one cent stamp with an image of Benjamin Franklin. The stamp is cancelled with a black inked stamp "McCOMB / SEP / [illegible] / 1907 / MISS."

Cooper-Hewitt Museum, Carnegie Mansion (New York, N.Y.) - Dining room ceiling

Smithsonian Institution Archives
See also number NYC-1-A-284

See also number SIA_000092_S06/I291

See also number 284

Interior elevation; Ceiling

At Léopoldville [graphic] : Emile Gorlia dining with friend

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Title source: Archives staff; title not provided by photographer.

Handwritten texts on verso contact print reads, " At table. Léo."

Judge E. Gorlia's first journey in the Belgian Congo from December 1909 to January 1912.

Cook or servant were exclusively a man's work.

At Léopoldville [graphic] : Emile Gorlia dining with friend

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Title source: Archives staff; title not provided by photographer.

Handwritten texts on verso contact print reads, " At table. Léo."

Judge E. Gorlia's first journey in the Belgian Congo from December 1909 to January 1912.

Cook or servant were exclusively a man's work.

Cast iron skillet owned and used by Beatrice Mack

National Museum of African American History and Culture
Cast iron skillet with single handle with a hole in the handle. The hole in the handle is oblong and points toward the pan. There are two (2) small lips at the PL and PR sides of the pan. On the bottom of the base on the exterior is a small inscription [8 G].

Dining in the Future: Predictions for Restaurant Eating in 2040

Smithsonian Magazine

Predicting the future of food is hard. In the early 1900s, people thought future produce would be gigantic, as in peas as large as beets. Ask a visionary to predict the future of food and they are likely to return any number of responses: Meals may consumed in liquid form, or be chock full of unusual ingredients like jellyfish, algae, or lab-grown meat. Then there’s the predictions that food will just be food. So instead of predicting exactly what people will eat, Vince Dixon forecasts how it will be eaten, as part of Eater’s Future Week

Jumping off of current trends in eco-conscious dining and automation, Dixon imagines a 2040 "fast-casual" dining experience in server-less restaurants where the tables are giant touch-screens that sync with smartphone-like devices. He puts the reader in the shoes of one of two people eating at such an establishment:

"What do you want?" your companion asks while placing her smart pad on top of the table. The smart table comes to life again: "Welcome back! Here are recommendations based on your last meal."

You let the table know your friend isn’t here alone this time by tapping your side. The screen divides in two and a menu appears. You start swiping the surface of the table, browsing through the restaurant’s selection of organic, whole-wheat pastas and fresh "artisan-style" sandwiches that are sustainably made with local ingredients. You smirk as you remember when "artisan" used to mean hand-crafted, instead of what it designates now: elegantly assembled dishes by robotic kitchen appliances programmed to mimic the recipes of famous chefs, and designed to cut back on labor costs.

The only employee the two fictional diners encounter is a young person who appears to wipe the table clean. The diners retrieve their own meals after they appear in small cubbies along one wall. The experience may seem a little lacking in personal interaction, but Dixon backs his imagining by pointing to a few restaurants already headed in similar directions. McDonald’s launched kiosks that allow patrons to build their own burgers in more than 2,000 locations, many in Southern California. A San Francisco-based eatery named Eatsa serves up the inspiration for cubby-delivered food. Also, restaurants with robots that cook and serve are already a thing in China.

Still, looking back at past predictions does highlight the tricky business of future-casting. Would a writer or technologist in 1980 have predicted the food trends of the 2000s, which included lots of controversy over corn? While the incursion of technology into the dining experience seems inevitable — as it does in many other aspects of food production and consumption — it may ultimately have a different shape. Perhaps the eco-consciousness will make it necessary for restaurants to cut down on food waste, or maybe the biggest changes will come in how food is produced, in response to some of the dissatisfaction people have nowadays.

In 20 years, someone one will be able to check the success of Dixon’s predictions (and that of others’ visions). The extrapolations may reveal more about the current moment than anything likely to happen in the future. The "home of the future" imagined by companies in the 1950s kept rigid gender roles in place, as do many of today's futurist visions, writes Rose Eveleth for Eater. The fears, hopes and blindspots of the person doing the forecasting limit their ability to prognosticate. 

Mama Remembered

National Museum of African American History and Culture
A black-and-white photograph of a woman administering to food in a bowl.
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