‘Inventive Eats’

According to The Washington Post, you don’t even have to like to cook in order to appreciate the gizmos, gadgets and gurus of food fixings in “Inventive Eats,” the first exhibit in the brand-spanking new installation space at the National Inventors Hall of Fame in Alexandria.

Designers Laurie Mobley and Mitch Scott were given the job of setting up a universally appealing show in a few months’ time, so they built it around 20 food-related inductees.

They had access to patents and company archives; they also contacted private collectors across the country. The result is an organized yet delightful hodgepodge. Young folks can watch trademark characters such as an early Pillsbury Doughboy on banks of video screens, while baby boomers can experience flashbacks by walking into the model of a 1950s kitchen.

And inspiration can come from the darnedest patents. The invention of barbed wire kept herds of cattle from roaming. Refrigerated transport had a profound effect on the flavor of food and gave it the farthest reach to date.

It’s free and on view for one year. National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Campus, Madison Bldg.), 600 Dulany St., Alexandria; 571-272-0095, www.invent.org. Hours: Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m.

Photo by Gretta Yao.

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