Census Data Used To Create BBQ Spice Mixtures For Each NYC Borough [Video]

Census Data Used To Create BBQ Spice Mixtures For Each NYC Borough [Video]

Hanna Kang-Brown used the population breakdown to decide what flavors went into each of her five rubs.

Daniela Walker
  • 11 july 2013

Self-described interaction designer Hanna Kang-Brown is interested in data representation. Her work focuses on data that can sometimes seem daunting to the average person and creating a physical representation that allows the public to understand the data in a new way. Kang-Brown broke down the data provided by the US Census to create unique barbecue rubs and spice mixes that represents the racial and ethnic diversity of New York City’s five boroughs.


Kang-Brown wanted to use a different sense, that of taste, to help understand the abundance of numerical data that the Census provides. She assigned each group of people a different spice flavoring – the Polish population was measured in paprika, Chinese people were ground ginger while the Arabic population were represented by sumac. She used figures from the Census to determine the spice ratio of each borough’s mix. In a tasting, Kang-Brown watched as people sampled the spice mix from Staten Island and immediately identified it as such because of the dominance of garlic powder (30%) that represented the Italian population. Her experiment caused people to question their presumptions and stereotypes about race and the flavors that may be associated with them.


While some were offended that a class of people could be reduced to a spice, Kang-Brown found that an interesting discussion to come out of her rubs.

Eating is our most interactive activity, involving all five senses, and smell is closely linked with our memories. Pairing spices with race, ethnicity and ancestry data allowed people to experience that data more viscerally than a chart or a map could accomplish. It tapped into gut reactions, and best of all, it tasted good. It was amazing to see people of all backgrounds — friends, families, strangers— talking about race, identity and place with ease and pleasure.

Hanna Kang-Brown


Brand Engagement At The Gates Of The World's Largest Open-Air Gallery

Asia Today

Safe Drivers Rewarded In Japan With Free Coffee

Driving Barista is a new app that encourages Japanese motorists to put their phones down as they drive

Arts & Culture Today

Michael Kors Has Designed Their Own Instant Camera

In a partnership with Fuji, the limited edition Instax Mini 70 comes in an exclusive metallic gold color


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Health Today

Manage Your Emotional Health Through Your Phone

Pharmaceutical company Pfizer has created a new iOS app meant to help patients track mental progress and set goals

Food Today

Delete Food Pics Off Of Instagram To Feed The Hungry

Land O'Lakes and Feeding America are donating meals for every picture of a meal taken off of the social platform

Related Expert

Jesse Levin

Service, Duty, Entrepreneurialism

Design & Architecture Today

This Shape-Shifting Pod Could Be The Future Of The Cubicle

MIT and Google have designed a new form of work enclosure meant to offer privacy in open-office layouts

Advertising Today

Billboard Spies On People As They Walk By

To promote the movie "Snowden," the advertisement broadcasts information on passersby without their knowledge

Fashion Today

Anti-Pollution Scarf Helps Cyclists Ride Through Cities

An innovative system filters pollutants and its accompanying app monitors quality of the air


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed september 26, 2016

Why Building Better Offices Is The Key To Employee Engagement

Interaction Designer and Audio-visual Technologist at ESI Design illustrates the value in creating environments filled with surprise and delight

PSFK Labs Today

New Mentorship Ecosystems Benefit All Levels Of An Organization

PSFK’s Future of Work report explores how technology is being leveraged to support cross-team communication

Automotive Today

Volvo’s Self-Driving Trucks Will Soon Be Put To Work In An Underground Mine

The fully-automated vehicles are part of a development project to help improve safety for workers

Op-Ed Today

Energy Expert: How American Consumers Are Taking Control Of Their Power Use

Jennifer Tuohy, green tech expert at The Home Depot, discusses green home technologies and developments for renewable technologies in US homes

Work Today

Editorial Roundtable: How Will Companies Staff The Workplace Of The Future?

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary, AltSchool and thinkPARALLAX examine the ways that a people-first workplace might disrupt the job hiring process

Arts & Culture Today

Mischievous Drone Will Drop Paint-Filled Balloons On Targets Of Your Choosing

A German photography team developed the flying device to accurately deliver a payload wherever needed


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

Fashion Today

100 Backpacks Made For The World’s Top Influencers

Heineken and TUMI have collaborated on a unique custom NYC-inspired bag

Financial Services Today

This Peer-To-Peer Insurance Company Is Powered By Bots

Lemonade is a new product designed to lighten the paperwork and provide instant, helpful service when needed

No search results found.