In 1910, a group of Harvard freshmen attended a formal dinner, sipped imported Champagne, smoked cigarettes and tasted an elaborate Eastern European “tree cake.” The privilege and wealth of these young men, who were all most likely white, can be seen from the forks and dishes they left behind around an oak dining table. This dinner is the centerpiece of Resetting the Table, an exhibition at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology at Harvard. Along with other food objects, the exhibition explores inclusion and exclusion in American history, as well as the social, political, economic and technological influences on the way Americans have eaten. Prehistoric oyster shells, late 20th-century Budweiser cans excavated from Harvard Yard and a life-size diorama of an early 20th-century kitchen will also be on display.
“Resetting the Table: Food and Our Changing Tastes,” through Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology at Harvard, 11 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, Mass., 617-496-1027, peabody.harvard.edu.