1:30pm

Fri July 27, 2012
The Salt

Seven Strange Food Museums To Spice Up Your Summer Travel Plans

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 9:33 am

The Olympics begin this afternoon, and the stores are filling up with school supplies, meaning that you only have a few more weeks to fit in a summer vacation. And if you'd like to add a quirky food-themed museum to your getaway plans, The Salt has compiled a few suggestions that are certainly off the beaten path.

If you're planning a road trip across the U.S., consider a stop at the Jell-O Gallery in Le Roy, N.Y., where you'll learn about the gelatin's wiggly-jiggly history and view an exhibit highlighting the dessert's iconic relationship with Bill Cosby.

A few hundred miles west, The Spam Museum, affectionately referred to as the 'Guggenham', in Austin, Minn. It's a 16,500 square-foot shrine dedicated to the canned meat's history. And 2012 is a good year to commemorate the pork product, as it celebrates its 75th birthday this year. However, if spud facts are more your thing, keep on driving West to the Idaho Potato Museum in Blackfoot, Idaho.

Travel plans taking you abroad? No problem. Unusual foods are an international fascination.

Explore the 4,000-year history of our favorite confection and design your own chocolate bar at the Cologne Chocolate Museum in Cologne, Germany. Plan a stop in Berlin, and you can explore the city's love affair with curried sausages in the Deutsches Currywurst Museum. And, if your travels take you to Alkmaar, Netherlands, you can't miss a visit to the Dutch Cheese Museum, where touring spectators can watch cheese carriers transport the massive wheels through a historic outdoor cheese market.

Japan also has a museum devoted to a favorite dorm room delicacy: Instant ramen noodles. At the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum in Osaka, there is a timeline in a tunnel, celebrating the history of this salty, low-budget wonder.

Though food museums can be found far and wide, don't think that you'll be missing out if you've got a "staycation" planned. The online-only Museum of Food Anomalies features plenty of food that looks like other things to keep your interest piqued. Banana Jesus, anyone?

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.