University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

September through December 2014 at the Penn Museum

Tarentine Red Figure Bull Head Rhyton L-64-227
French historian Fernand Braudel (1902-1985) once noted, "The mere smell of cooking can evoke a whole civilization." This fall, the Penn Museum, home to art and artifacts from civilizations around the world, invites visitors to explore the international galleries with an eye to food, drink, culture, and cuisine as experienced by humans throughout the ages.

Culinary Expeditions: A Fall Celebration of Food and Cultures ( runs September through December at the Penn Museum. Guests are invited to take a Culinary Expedition, visiting ten food-related artifacts in the Museum galleries via a new self-guided tour, free with Museum admission donation and available at the admission desks. For a more in-depth focus on food and foodways, Museum docents offer special tours the first Saturdays of each month. The Museum's Pepper Mill Café joins with Culinary Expeditions menus focused on diverse regions of the world, Fridays through Sundays.

Culinary Expeditions: A Fall Celebration of Food and Cultures is inspired by Culinary Expeditions: A Celebration of Food and Culture Inspired by Penn Museum Treasures, a 133-page, full-color, hardcover book launched in the spring which features cultural and culinary stories, 80 tested recipes, and photography of food-related artifacts from the international collections of the Penn Museum. Edited by Expedition magazine Editor Jane Hickman, Ph.D., and published by the Museum's all-volunteer Women's Committee, the book can be ordered through the Women's Committee by calling 215.898.9202, or downloading an order form at All proceeds benefit the Museum.

Tours to Make You Hungry

From a tiny, 4,500-year-old ancient Mesopotamian cylinder seal with scenes of libations and reveling, to an ancient Cylinder Seal 30-12-2Egyptian tilapia fish rattle, to an early 20th century ostrich egg water container from South Africa, the Culinary Expedition self-guided tour offers food for thought about regional foods, cuisines, and culinary practices around the globe. Guests can pick up a color tour brochure at the Kamin main entrance and travel at their own pace.

Two Museum docents offer specialized food tours, 1:30 pm from the Museum's main entrance on the first Saturday of each month. Elin Danien, Ph.D., consulting scholar in the American Section of the Penn Museum, an expert on the ancient Maya, a long-time Museum docent and an avowed chocoholic, offers "Delicious—and Good for You!" tours September 6 and November 1. Guests explore the Mexico and Central America Gallery and adjacent Native American Voices exhibition, discovering more about the principal Maya "top 10" foods—including maize, squash, chile, avocados and most definitely chocolate—and learning about diverse food preparation techniques in Mesoamerica and North America.

Michele Belluomini presents "Exploring Foodways: Stories Behind the Artifacts" October 4 and December 6. A Ostrich Egg Water Container 31-2-134docent and a storyteller who has performed at many Penn Museum events, Ms. Belluomini has offered food-focused tours to Culinary Art Institute students. Guests enjoy a globetrotting gustatory journey, hearing about the "power bars" of the ancient Africans, the hymns of praise to Ninkasi, Mesopotamian goddess of beer, or the more cautious advice given on papyrus, Egyptian father to son, regarding the hazards of excess drinking.

In the Pepper Mill Cafe

The Pepper Mill Café joins in the fun, offering special weekend lunch menus drawn from or inspired by recipes in Culinary Expeditions: A Celebration of Food and Culture Inspired by Penn Museum Treasures. The menu features entrées and sides from a different region of the world every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, September 5 through December 21. Look for jollof rice (Africa), sweet & sour okra (Egypt), baklava (Greece), crispy fried artichokes (Rome), and marbled tea eggs (Asia), with sides from $2 and most entrees at $7. The Pepper Mill Café special menu (subject to substitutions) is posted online at As always, the Pepper Mill Café offers a selection of beers, wines, and other beverages, plus sandwiches and salads.

Image captions (top to bottom): The Penn Museum's new Culinary Expeditions self guided tour guides visitors to food and dining-related objects in its galleries, including a Tarentine red-figure bull's head rhyton cup. Its lack of a base means that it cannot be set down until it's empty (object no. # L-64-227 Photo: Penn Museum). This lapis lazuli cylinder seal showing ancient Mesopotamian revelers sipping beer through long straws is featured in the Culinary Expeditions self-guided tour (object no. #30-12-2 Photo: Penn Museum). The Penn Museum's new self-guided, food-themed, Culinary Expedition tour highlights ten objects, including a hollowed ostrich egg shell used as a water container in Southern Africa (object no. #31-2-134 Photo: Penn Museum).

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