We eat to live, but food and its preparation is more than a biological necessity. Our choices say something about who we are. Our preferred ingredients, recipes, utensils and cooking techniques reflect our histories while shaping the food we eat.

We come from or have adopted diverse food traditions. We have different values about the food we eat and varying levels of skill in the kitchen. Our budgets play a role, too. Let’s Eat! explores where we, as Londoners, have acquired our ingredients, how we prepared them and why we did it that way, and what our food has meant to us.

To tell these stories, the exhibition will feature artifacts ranging from cookbooks and handwritten recipe cards to butter churns and gardening implements, a 1950s kitchen complete with steel cabinets, appliances, gadgets, and furniture, to more modern kitchen equipment reflecting our current foodways. Paintings, advertisements, and photographs will bring the exhibition to life, allowing glimpses into the lives and kitchens of Londoners past and present.

Benefiting from a generous grant from the London Community Foundation, Let’s Eat! will also introduce viewers to a range of Londoners who participated in interviews about their food and cooking today. From them, visitors will come to appreciate that we all share experiences of working in the kitchen to produce food but even with very similar ingredients we produce vastly different tastes and experiences. The food we make also has very individual meanings. Ultimately, this history exhibition will introduce you to your neighbours and make you hungry!

Generously sponsored by McCormick’s and supported by the London Community Foundation’s Endowment for Heritage Fund.