“Salmon net, 1910” from the PEMCO Webster and Stevens Collection in the Edible City exhibit at the Museum of History and Industry. (Photo courtesy Museum of History and Industry)

“Salmon net, 1910” from the PEMCO Webster and Stevens Collection in the Edible City exhibit at the Museum of History and Industry. (Photo courtesy Museum of History and Industry)

At MOHAI: ‘Edible City’ a yummy exhibit of Seattle-area foods

SEATTLE — If you love local food and enjoy history, too, you won’t want to miss Edible City: A Delicious Journey at the Museum of History and Industry.

Curated by the award-winning food journalist Rebekah Denn, the exhibit includes stories about foods eaten by Coast Salish tribes, early days of dairy farming, the massive salmon harvests, farmers markets, Seattle-area food manufacturers and important regional restaurants.

The culinary history of our area focuses on the fresh ingredients that resulted in nationally known products and beautiful plates from top chefs.

Denn makes it clear from the start that the Puget Sound region can rightly boast that it’s one of America’s best places to eat. She should know. A two-time winner of the James Beard award for food writing, Denn is a former restaurant critic for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. She now writes for the Seattle Times and Sunset magazine.

One can tell that this journalist curated the exhibit, which is thorough and easy to grasp. Denn didn’t miss a thing, and the exhibit designers did beautiful work and incorporated a bunch of great interactive stuff.

Denn has written before about the fact that our natural resources play a huge part in the love of this place we call home. Check out the photo of a giant mushroom found out in the woods. Marvel at the bounty of the salmon harvest 100 years ago.

MOHAI executive director Leonard Garfield uses the term “confluence of cultures,” to describe a region where diversity is respected and where Native, Asian, European, Central American and African foods are enjoyed.

The exhibit is laid out more or less chronologically, starting with the traditional foods foraged and eaten by local tribes and the fruits and vegetables grown by truck farmers from the Kent valley to the Stillaguamish River and beyond.

Read about the Tilth movement (working the soil) from Mark Musick, who started the effort at Pragtree Farm in Arlington. Discover that the Rainier cherry was developed in 1950 by Washington State University.

Find out about regional fish canneries, peanut butter and jam producers, and cheese, chocolate, wine, beer and bread makers. While Starbucks and the Stewart brothers were some of the first to roast coffee, note that the first espresso cart showed up at the Edmonds Arts Festival in 1979.

Learn about local markets, including Pike Place, food cooperatives, neighborhood farmers markets, Uwajimaya and more.

Note that we have more teriyaki fast-food restaurants in the region than hamburger joints, but that loyalty to establishments such as Dick’s (deluxe burgers), Ivar’s (seafood) and Ezell’s (fried chicken) is beyond compare.

Sit at a table and pretend you are at Canlis in the 1960s and being waited on by staff in kimonos.

Finally have a look at Seattle’s current culinary superstars, including Ethan Stowell, Tom Douglas, Renee Erickson, Jerry Traunfeld, Rachel Yang, Kathy Casey and Lisa Nakamara, among many others.

While Seattle is the focus, it’s safe to say that we live in an edible state.

If you go

Through Sept. 10, see “Edible City” at the Museum of History and Industry, 860 Terry Ave., Seattle. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Tickets are $19.95 general admission, $15.95 for seniors, $13.95 for students and free for age 14 and younger when accompanied by an adult. For more information, call 206-324-1126 or go to www.mohai.org.

Also, while you are there, check out Rebekah Denn’s book “Edible City,” which comes complete with recipes for about $25.

Talk to us

More in Life

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay walks into the Prohibition Grille along Hewitt Avenue in Everett Wednesday Dec. 5, 2012 while reportedly filming an episode of Kitchen Nightmares at the Everett restaurant. (Mark Mulligan / The Herald)
Even more films and TV shows filmed in Snohomish County

Readers point out projects previously missed in this series, from reality television to low-budget indie films.

Daniella Beccaria / for The Herald

15-month-old Kantu attempts to climb a pumpkin at Stocker Farms in Snohomish on Sunday, September 20th, 2015. Stocker Farms offers a U-pick patch, farm animals and a corn maze.
Best pumpkin patch in Snohomish County

You voted, we tallied, here are the results.

The city of Mukilteo is having a naming contest for its new $75,000 RC Mowers R-52, a remote-operated robotic mower. (Submitted photo)
Mukilteo muncher: Name the $75,000 robot mower

The city is having a naming contest for its new sod-slaying, hedge-hogging, forest-clumping, Mr-mow-it-all.

Local musician Alex Johnston, whose newest album "Daylight Fooldream" pairs with short film he made with help from his partner Mikaela Henderson, sits with his morning coffee on Friday, Sept. 15, 2023, at Narrative Coffee in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Folktronica musician shoots 37-minute visual album on iPhone in Everett

Alex Johnston, 31, describes his music as ”if Coldplay and Bon Iver had a love child.”

Death of parent with child. Piece of paper with parents and children is torn in half.
Helping children cope with the hard realities of divorce

I’s important to set aside one’s feelings and find a way to make this challenging transition as comfortable for children as you can.

In Belgium, each type of beer has its own glass – whether wide, tall, or fluted – to show off its distinct qualities.
Rick Steves’ Europe: Bruges brews lift a weary traveler’s spirits

The Belgian city is a mecca for beer lovers from around the world.

Children’s author Barbara Herkert to lead Story Time at Edmonds Bookshop, Friday September 29th, 9:30-10:00 am!
Author to read her new kids book at Edmonds bookstore

Author Barbara Herkert will read “This Old Madrone Tree” Friday at Edmonds Bookshop.

Flowering knotweed Persicaria amplexicaulis firetail in the morning light.
Save for one infamous variety, fleece flowers are easy to fall in love with

This long-blooming, easy-to-grow perennial comes in many desirable varieties. But watch out: One is an invasive knotweed.

Can he get the fare difference refunded after he was downgraded?

American Airlines downgrades Thomas Sennett and his family to economy class on their flights from Boston to Phoenix. Why isn’t it refunding the fare difference?

Most Read