University of Leeds

University of Bradford

Wakefield Council

You Are What You Ate



'Sugar and Spice & All Things Nice' exhibition banner, photo courtesy of 'You are what you ate'

The You Are What You Ate project has organized free exhibitions, one in each year of the project. The first exhibition ran in Wakefield Museum from 5 March to 1 October 2011 with the theme ‘Sugar and spice and all things nice’. Year two's exhibition opened in Pontefract Museum on the 3 March 2012 and was entitled ‘The dark side of eating’. Our third exhibition opened on the 3 March 2013 and ran until the following September, with the theme of ‘Food For All Seasons’.

All three exhibitions from 2011 to 2013 have been distilled down into one display, which is now set to tour around the districts' libraries. 

New mobile exhibition

From late September 2013, a mobile pod combining elements from all three exhibitions has been travelling around libraries in the Wakefield area, for those who missed out on the experience first time round. The interactive 'pod' started its tour of the Wakefield area in Airedale Library and Learning Centre - along with its bones, beer goggles, medieval cooking pot, recipe cards - and more!  A lot has been squeezed into this small display. Talks, school sessions and family activities are all being programmed in the libraries. See here for more information regarding current and future venues for this travelling exhibition.

Previous exhibitions

Poster for 'Food For All Seasons' exhibition at Wakefield MuseumFood For All Seasons

Today we think nothing of eating strawberries in December, pumpkins in May and brussels sprouts in August…it hasn’t always been this way. 'Food For All Seasons' at Wakefield Museum allowed visitors to discover what was on the menu season by season in medieval Wakefield. It offered a chance to meet characters from the past, to let them tell you their hungry struggles and memories of great feasts at Sandal Castle. Visitors could take a peek into the larders of Sandal Castle in 1322; what delicious recipe would you make with herring, oats and bacon? There was also a rare opportunity to see some beautiful and unique medieval objects, including a stunning book of hours, an illuminated Christian book containing prayers and contemplative verse. The exhibition ran from 3 March to September 2013.


Dark Side of Eating exhibition posterThe Dark Side of Eating

How horrible was history really? This exhibition gave the opportunity to find out more about the grim history of eating in Yorkshire from the Middle Ages to today. Visitors had the chance to compare medieval and modern ideas about famine, drink and obesity and to see for themselves the effects of diet on the human skeleton. The exhibition ran from 3 March to the 29 September 2012 at Pontefract Museum.

Read more here about the exhibition.


Poster for 'Sugar and Spice and All Things Nice' exhibition at Wakefield MuseumSugar and spice and all things nice

Have you ever wondered why we like what we like to eat? And why do we like to eat things usually seen as unhealthy? This exhibition provided the public with an introduction to the fun side of the history and science of food. Visitors were given the chance to get caught up in a world of sweetness and entertainment, following sugar and cinnamon from plant to plate, and presented with displays of sugar craft, scenes of feasting, historical and modern theories of taste, concepts of healthy eating and 'super foods'.

The exhibition ran from 5 March to October 2011 at Wakefield Museum. Take a look here for more details about 'Sugar and spice and all things nice' (and for some tasty recipes).

In the news

(5 April 2012) Pontefract and Castleford Express
Food for thought

(13 March 2012) University of Leeds: press release
Come over to the dark side! Learn about the grim history of food

(21 June 2011) Yorkshire Post
Sweet success for wonder food that conquered the world

(20 May 2011) BBC Radio 4, Woman's Hour
Woman's Hour: sugar & spice and all things nice

(10 May 2011) Yorkshire Evening Post
Leeds exhibition to host history of sugar

Please click on events for more information on our activities, or contact us.