Exhibition at National Archives celebrate the role of government in controlling national diet

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Bruce Cole, former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.

Chef José Andrés is the “Chief Culinary Advisor” for “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam? The Government’s Effect on the American Diet,” an exhibition now at the National Archives in Washington. In his introduction to the show’s catalogue, the chef writes that the exhibition inspired him to partner with the National Archives Foundation to launch a new restaurant, America Eats. Although Andrés is better known for paella than pot roast, his new venture — located, we are helpfully told, “just steps away” from the Archives building — features a neo–New Deal menu.

“What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?” documents the influence of Washington over our diet through an engaging selection of documents, photographs, and posters from the Archives’ vast collection. Although the exhibition is admirably concise, the sequencing of the displays could be less complicated and clearer; at times the viewer struggles to understand which direction to take....

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