Frostbite: How Refrigeration Changed Our Food, Our Planet, and Ourselves

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Event Information 
When: Tuesday, July 16 | 7:00 pm Eastern 
Featuring: Nicola Twilley and Cynthia Graber

Don’t miss an evening of conversation with the Museum’s Center for the Environment celebrating the release of Nicola Twilley’s Frostbite.

How often do we open the fridge or peer into the freezer with the expectation that we’ll find something fresh and ready to eat? It’s an everyday act — but just a century ago, eating food that had been refrigerated was cause for both fear and excitement. The introduction of artificial refrigeration overturned millennia of dietary history, launching a new chapter in human nutrition. We could now overcome not just rot, but seasonality and geography. Tomatoes in January? Avocados in Shanghai? All possible.

In Frostbite, Nicola Twilley, New Yorker contributor and cohost of the award-winning podcast Gastropod, takes readers on a tour of the cold chain from farm to fridge revealing the transformative impact refrigeration has had on our health and our guts; our farms, tables, kitchens, and cities; global economics and politics; and even our environment.

In the developed world, we’ve reaped the benefits of refrigeration for more than a century, but the costs are catching up with us. We’ve eroded our connection to our food and redefined what “fresh” means. More important, refrigeration is one of the leading contributors to climate change. Twilley asks: Can we reduce our dependence on refrigeration? Should we? Frostbite makes the case for a recalibration of our relationship with the fridge—and how our future might depend on it.

Part of the Museum’s Year of the Earthshot, an exploration of the climate solutions and the actions we can take now to live sustainably on Earth.

This program is free, thanks to the generosity of the Lowell Institute.