Food. It’s everywhere at the moment; on my kitchen floor, on my kitchen ceiling, in every hard-to-clean crevice between my kitchen drawers. Hell, I even picked a blueberry skin off my nipple the other day. Yes, we’re three months in to weaning and I’m spending more time with the kitchen mop than I am with my husband.
So, I was keen to see the V&A’s latest exhibition, Food: Bigger than the plate, which explores our relationship with food, the impact our consumption is having on the planet and whether we can achieve a more sustainable future – a hot topic in these uncertain times and one I’ve personally been thinking about a lot more as I attempt to shovel yet another broccoli floret down the wee man’s throat.
Now, at £17 tickets aren’t cheap (though definitely worth it) but I got mine half price with my Art Fund pass (have I mentioned those before? Probably my top essential item for mat leave, if I’m honest).
What was great about this particular exhibition (aside from how thought-provoking it is) was that it is such a sensory delight – replete with videos, colours and things to touch and feel – you can happily meander round with the feeling that both you and babe are getting something out of it.
The exhibition opens with a eco-friendly toilet – what kid isn’t going to love that – before you go on to learn how waste can be recycled to create everything from glasses frames to wine bottles. In another, artists have created a fruit-filled wallpaper in honour of the fact that the V&A now stands where an orchard once grew. It’s like something out of Charlie and the Chocolate factory; so good, you can (almost) taste it. And, it being all about food, there are animals too. A particularly hard-hitting exhibit explores the life-cycle of a pig. True, I chose to focus on making “oink, oink” noises in the wee man’s ear rather than lingering too long on the significance of the piglet’s face on meat cans, but hopefully the wee man learnt what noise a pig makes and I left thinking twice about serving sausages for supper.
On a practical note, if you’re coming with a pram – don’t take the underground footpath from South Kensington Station. There is no ramp and my friend had to humph her wee chap up and down various staircases before we got to the exhibition which, we were told, could have been avoided if we came via the main entrance.
The staff though were super helpful even offering my friend a private, more comfortable, room to feed her baby in when he got hungry half way through. Baby changing facilities were well sign-posted and on the same floor as the exhibition but with bath and bedtime beckoning we didn’t have time to stop in their cafe. We noted though that lots of families and their children were enjoying the gardens and paddling pool and I hope to take those in when I return for their Dior exhibition, also showing currently.
Expensive, unless you invest in an Art Pass – well worth it
If bringing a pram, don’t take the subway footpath – ramps are at the main entrance only.
Baby changing is well sign-posted and on the same level as the exhibition.
Feeding friendly ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Staff, very helpfully, offered the comfort of a private room for feeding.
General vibes ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Got the old grey-matter thinking and a sensory delight for mum and baby – this is a brilliant exhibition that I’m still mulling over a week later.