National Archives at Kansas City

Press Release: November 25, 2013

National Archives at Kansas City

What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam? Exhibit to Open at the National Archives

For More Information Contact:
Dee Harris, 816-268-8086

Kansas City, (MO)… On Tuesday, January 7, 2014, the National Archives at Kansas City will open a new exhibit. What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?: The Government’s Effect on the American Diet is an exhibition of records from the holdings of the National Archives that traces the ways that food has occupied the hearts and minds of Americans and their government. What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam? is free and open to the public.

What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam? offers visitors the chance to examine letters, diaries, photos, maps, petitions, films, patents, and proclamations from the food-related collection of the National Archives. Instead of a traditional chronological approach, the exhibition explores four broad themes: Farm, Factory, Kitchen, and Table.

The Government’s efforts to inspire, influence, and control what Americans eat have led to unexpected consequences, dismal failures, and life-saving successes. Records in the National Archives trace the origins of the programs and legislation aimed at ensuring that the American food supply is ample, safe, and nutritious. The records also reflect the effects the government has had on our food choices and preferences. At turns comic (blindfolded turkey tasting experiments) and tragic (lab notes on toxic candy), these records reveal the evolution of our beliefs and feelings about food. They convey the desperate voices of depression-era farmers, and explain how the government got into the business of publishing recipes for ham shortcake and teaching housewives to can peaches.

What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam? will be available for viewing Tuesday-Saturday, 8:00am-4:00pm. To schedule a group tour call 816-268-8013 or email

The National Archives at Kansas City is one of 15 facilities nationwide where the public has access to Federal archival records. It is home to historical records dating from the 1820s to the 1990s created or received by Federal agencies in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. For more information, call 816-268-8000 or visit us online.

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