On Exhibit: August 30th - October 22nd, 2007
This little exhibition dedicated to corn is presented in conjunction with the Penn Reading Project. One focus of this year's book, Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma, is on the role of "industrial" corn in the modern food chain. Materials on display here show early representations of corn, or maize, known for centuries in Europe as Turkish wheat—revealing confusion about its place of origin. They also reflect the widening influence of corn in the human diet through the twentieth century. Today we consume an enormous array of corn products, many of which we are only tangentially aware, in the numerous processed foods that have become a mainstay of our diet.
The materials in this exhibition come from various sources, including early herbal books from the library of Penn professor and alumnus John Harshberger, a member of the Botanical faculty from 1893-1929, and the culinary collection of Chef Fritz Blank, formerly chef and owner of the famous Philadelphia restaurant Deux Cheminees, which was transferred to Penn in the spring of 2007.