Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Google Arts & Culture, and the British Council unveiled the exhaustive archive last week.
s interesting are the many lives, and many times of Pakistan at any given time, all that drama usually overshadows the fact that Pakistan, for its size, is a culturally and geographically, very diverse country.
Traveling all the way from the coastal belts on the south to the mountain peaks in the north, you will find multiple ethnicities and even more languages and dialects spoken across the land. This, of course, means that Pakistan is also home to multiple cultures, traditions, and cuisines, and speaking of that last one, all Pakistani cuisine is absolutely delicious.
Gathering the recipes, stories, and significance of the foods cooked and consumed in Pakistan is no small feat, and the entire task took four years to research, collect, and produce.
The Museum of Food can be found online and hosts around 90 videos and 100 online recipes/stories/exhibits, showcasing the mundane (a raita recipe), to the sublime (the exhausting task of cooking nihari or sajji), to the educational but still mystifying processes of growing and conserving food.
“I started thinking about food and how it’s a unifying factor in Pakistan,” says Obaid-Chinoy while explaining how the series came about. She talks about how cuisine and food trends have come to Pakistan over the years, “and I remember a time when we had seasonal food, and that means our palate is changing,” she says. This, to Obaid-Chinoy, also means that while tastes evolve, the need to preserve the traditional.
Since the archive is so exhaustive, it will take days, if not weeks to go through the entire collection of images and video, but every second will be worth it, from what we’ve seen so far.
Bonus: if your kids are sitting their Pakistan Studies exams this year, this is how to contextualize some of the things they are reading about.
Museum of Food can be found at https://artsandculture.google.com/project/flavors-of-pakistan