Tag Archives: Dumpling

Pork Wontons

Just a quick ride on the el or a short drive to University City, lies the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology. The Penn Museum is home to about 1 -million artifacts covering existence anywhere from Ancient Egypt to the Roman Empire, Native American tribes and everywhere in between. Though the most intriguing items are viewable to the public behind glass cases, Museum researchers and scholars are involved with research projects all over the globe that could, literally, dig up something new for the Penn Museum visitors.

In addition to the intriguing permanent collections, the museum regularly features special exhibits. Until March 28th, the exclusive, and highly anticipated, Secrets of the Silk Road exhibit is open to the public. Through artifacts, relics, and even well-preserved mummies, the exhibit tells the story of life in the Tarim Basin desert, located in Central Asia. Spanning from Europe to Eastern China, the Silk Road is a network of trade routes connected through this region, responsible for modern trade, cross cultural exchanges and the growth of many items we still use today.

The Penn Museum has designed interactive components for visitors of all ages, further exploring the language and textiles of those who lived in the Tarim Basin region. Additionally, visitors can experience the Silk Road from the perspective of a princess, merchant, entertainer, or horseman of that time period by participating in an activity provided at the beginning of the exhibit; with a paper map in hand, participants discover more about their chosen character by unlocking answers with a decoder throughout the exhibit.

The interactive nature of the exhibit continues with lunch at The Pepper Mill Café, inside the museum. Until June, menus focus on a specific country along the Silk Road, rotating weekly. From China to Vietnam, to India and Greece, the catering staff spent two months researching and developing traditional foods of the region. The exhibit itself shows visitors what the people in the Tarim Basin ate; displays include an ancient, excavated wonton, spring roll and fried dough. Free recipes available inside the exhibit allow visitors to experience the Secrets of the Silk Road at home.  This recipe, for wontons filled with pork, probably tastes a little bit better than its thousands-of-years-old version in the exhibit. Read More…


If I were stranded on a deserted island and could only have three things with me, one of them would surely be pasta (considering this, the other two would probably be a big, heavy pot and a lighter, to create a flame). Most of my favorite meals are pasta dishes, and I eat a couple warm bowls of it in some form several times a week. Though I’m a sucker for good, old-fashioned, spaghetti and meatballs, I don’t discriminate; stuffed pastas, like ravioli and tortellini, or shapes, such as rotini and orecchiette, are delicious, too.

My appreciation for pasta goes beyond delicious, Italian feasts. A casserole dish, straight out of the oven, filled with oozy, gooey, macaroni and cheese, is hard to resist. Swedish meatballs over egg noodles in a warm, brown gravy are enough to satisfy a bottomless-pit of an appetite. Some of the best items on a Chinese menu contain noodles, and dumplings are the not-so long-lost cousin of the Italian ravioli. On that note, the Polish pierogi comes from the same family. I have quite a soft spot for this particular stuffed dough pouch, and I must admit: I have a special place in my heart for the frozen Mrs. T’s pierogies. Still, there’s nothing like one of your favorite foods homemade, so I decided to, ambitiously, play Mrs. T for a day. Read More…

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