Jessica Leigh Hester is a former senior associate editor at CityLab, covering environment and culture. Her work also appears in the New Yorker, The Atlantic, New York Times, Modern Farmer, Village Voice, Slate, BBC, NPR, and other outlets.
Find out by eating a pollution-infused meringue.
Each city has its own signature scent. Take, for instance, New York: On a hot day, you’ll catch a whiff of plump dirty-water hotdogs, stale pretzels, and aggressively aromatic candied nuts. (And, of course, garbage.) If you take a deep breath, you can practically taste it. Soon, you’ll actually be able to take a bite.
The Center for Genomic Gastronomy and Edible Geography and the Finnish Cultural Institute will be serving up smog-infused meringues as part of the New Museum’s Ideas City Festival in New York City on May 30. The street cart will be stocked with smog captured (or “harvested”) from various metropolises. Why meringues? Says the FCINY:
Egg foams are up to 90 percent air, and whipping the eggs causes particulate matter to be trapped in the batter.
Plus, you know, meringues look like clouds.
The project aims to raise awareness about air pollution by making it more tangible—right in line with the festival’s theme of “invisible cities.” And before you start to dry heave, remember: Nibbling on the fluffy treats isn’t any more dangerous than breathing. (Though somehow, it’s definitely grosser.)