My brother Sam and I were psyched about going to visit a museum that had just opened in Brooklyn called the Museum of Food and Drink.
The first things I saw were several gumball machine-like contraptions. Not only that, but there were also smell stations with buttons that, when pressed, give the user the sensation that they were sticking their face in a pile of strawberries. You could compare a fake strawberry smell to actual strawberries, identify mystery smells by pressing a button labeled with a question mark, or even mix smells to get something new. At the front of the room was a long white table with buttons scattered along the top. They were labeled with stuff like, grassy, smoky, nail polish remover and even cheesy vomit. I cringed at the thought of that one.
Sam and I decided to start off with the flavor tablets. First we stopped by the vanilla. There was regular vanilla and vanillin, a chemical designed to taste like vanilla. The vanillin was actually better than the vanilla, although both were sort of flavorless. Vanilla/vanillin is used in so much today that saying something tastes like vanilla is almost like calling it bland. There were other flavors, too, like lemon, pumpkin, apple pie, sugar, tomato, even mushroom and seaweed. For a while Sam and I dared each other to try gross flavor combinations like seaweed and lemon, apple pie and salt.
Sam and I raced past the mini smell stations, mostly because what we were most excited about lay just ahead — the smell keyboard. We dashed to the front of the room, looked down at the mass of buttons before us, and we were amazed. Behind the smell keyboard was a wall with panels on it that would light up when certain buttons were pressed. What made this so cool was the fact that about 20 different combinations could be made from cherry to coconut rum. Someone (usually Dad) would attempt some elaborate mix of smells and someone (usually Sam) would mess it up by holding down cheesy vomit. Dad got real mad when Sam would do this, but after being yelled at, Sam finally stopped.
After a while we eventually had to leave the museum. I had a good time there . . . despite the cheesy vomit.
It is located: 62 Bayard St., Brooklyn. Online: mofad.org