Dish – Meal – Grub
exhibition from the Monarchy exhibition seriesLocation: Ethnographic Museum of the National Museum, Kinsky Folly, Kinského zahrada 98, Praha 5
This exhibition presents the phenomenon of food - the preparation, processing and consumption of food and drink in the second half of the 19th century, focussing particularly on eating habits, table settings, dining room decorations, and cutlery - and of course a number of period recipes.
The centre of attention is not only the “material witnesses” of period gastronomy such as table settings, cutlery, tableware, placemats, kitchen utensils, containers for storing food and drink, and models and imitation of real food, but also the social and cultural context of eating and catering. Through eating and catering, people from all walks of life were able to express their status, tastes and values, and even religious or magic rules, customs and traditions.
The exhibition presents the eating habits of the rural poor and the highest levels of the monarchy, as well as everything in between; the townsfolk and the aristocracy. Visitors can admire the splendid dining facilities of the Czech nobility, particularly the House of Kinský, including their hunting and smoking salons in the authentic environment of the Classicist Kinský summer house as it contrasts the simple fare of the ordinary rural folk, who made up the vast majority of the population of that time. The exhibition also presents the eating habits of the wealthy rural society and the rituals involved and their link to the changing seasons, festival and ceremonial dining, and the development of hot food preparation – from the wood stove to the modern gas range. It also looks at the phenomenon of rationing during the First World War and of course the most famous celebrity of traditional Czech cuisine, Magdalena Dobromila Rettigová.
There will be also presented contemporary views on the principles of good nutrition and folk traditions and superstitions response including food themes in contemporary folklore. The exhibition presents catering in the 19th century in a broad social and cultural context, touching on the customs of religious and ethnic minorities such as the Jews and Romany, and shows how the diet of our ancestors reflected the development of agriculture, the industrial revolution, the import of raw materials from overseas and globalisation.