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Good Food in “De Verstandighe Kock”

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Visitors to the “Smakelijk Eten” (Good Food) exhibition in the Westfries Museum are stepping into a state-of-the-art restaurant.

“De Verstandighe Kock” (The Sensible Chef) is the only restaurant in the Netherlands where you cannot eat or drink anything but you still get to enjoy food. On the menu is a five-course information banquet.

All the dishes – fun computer animations – are served at a festively laid table, tastefully presented on a tin plate with a built-in screen. On that plate lie the various ingredients of the food culture of the Golden Age. For the kids, there are children’s menus from four hundred years ago.

The museum shows seventeenth-century still lifes, hunting scenes and other works of art illustrating the road travelled by food – from the land via the market and the kitchen to the table. Guest curator Professor Donna Barnes and former Westfries Museum director Ruud Spruit have written a mouth-watering book to accompany the exhibition. The richly illustrated “Smakelijk Eten / Food for Thought” describes our ancestors’ eating and drinking habits with the help of paintings, prints, recipes and songs. A chapter is devoted to the production of food in West Friesland, already an important agrarian region back then.

In view of West Friesland’s historic importance as the birthplace of innumerable vegetable and seed pioneers, Seed Valley is sponsoring the exhibition, which can be viewed from 10 December to 13 March in the Westfries Museum in Hoorn.

The exhibition is part of the Hoorns Museum Menu. The exhibition “Aan Tafel!” (Dinner’s Ready!), which covers our changing eating patterns over the last century, is running at the Museum of the Twentieth Century at the same time. Meanwhile, the Dutch Poster Museum is showing “A la Carte”, classic advertising posters for food and drinks.

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