First thing first, what I just can’t understand, is why this hasn’t happened sooner. We’re Brits, Brits love food and Brits love London. Anyone can see that it makes perfect sense for the British Museum of Food, situated in the heart of Borough Market, to be none other than a complete success. And what makes it even better is that BMoF beat New York’s MOFAD (Museum of Food and Drink) to claim the title of the world’s first culinary institution of the sort by just three days.
The Mad Hatters of the food industry, Bompas and Parr, have effectively created a mini grown-up playground where foodies can revel in the whole host of different adventures the museum has to offer. Encapsulated in two floors is the perfect assortment of art, history, evolution, science and sociology, ultimately offering an education on all things food. ‘Choco-Phonica’ will make you the subject of a psychological experiment by looking at the effect of different sounds on your perception of taste; ‘Be the Bolus’ will take you through the human body and along the path of your (very intelligent) digestive system; ‘Atelier of Flavour’ will make you appreciate the potential food has to offer to artistic value; ‘British Menu Archive’ will take you through the history of British menus, ranging from royal dinners in the 1800s to the fried chicken shops of the noughties; and finally, ‘The Butterfly Effect’ lets you explore and celebrate our country’s best pollinators, whom we forget to thank for most of the food on our table. This room was described quite perfectly by my good friend Beth as “probably what it feels like to be in a fairytale”.
Sam Bompas and Harry Parr seem to have thought of every single element of our relationship with food and left no box un-ticked. Nowadays, for most, food is much more than just a human requirement and the quirky creators have gone well beyond tickling our taste buds, captivating the museum-goers and leaving them with a new breadth of understanding about quite literally where our food comes from and where it goes. And this is where being situated in Borough Market could not be more apt – the infamous culinary heart of London, attracting a lively hub of Londoners, all gorging on the immense array of foodstuffs on offer.
This isn’t the first time that Bompas and Parr have performed witchcraft and wizardry with food and BMoF now joins Alcoholic Architecture and Sonic Wonderland in a world-class box of magic tricks. For the time being this is just a temporary fixture, but I’m sure I join the majority in hoping that the British Museum of Food continues to open the minds and mouths of Brits and becomes a permanent institution of education and exploration in one of the leading gastronomic centres of the world.