Food for Thought

A food-centric museum outing

Jane Addams' Hull-House has a long-standing relationship with food and cooking.

A cultural center turned museum, it publishes a canning manual and hosts a lunchtime lecture series, Re-Thinking Soup.

The museum's newest exhibit, Unfinished Business: 21st-Century Home Economics, has food history and policy as a central theme.

The exhibit is petite but covers a range of subjects, including milk safety, local coffee and kitchen tools. Don headphones to hear a local lunchroom worker discuss an organic lunch program, and flip through tracts by early thinkers in home economics, like Ellen Swallow Richards.

The museum sells products that make excellent gifts, should you be in the market: blueberry, raspberry and plum preserves ($9), made from local fruit and historic Jane Addams-era recipes. There's organic heirloom popping corn, too ($2.75), grown for the museum by Three Sisters Garden.

If taking–or escaping–family during the holidays, we suggest following a walk-through with a glass of wine at nearby Lush. Then head a few blocks farther south to Nightwood, and end the outing with a hearty spinach salad with navy bean dressing ($11), plus "one long noodle," a five-foot coil of silky fresh pasta filled with lemony carbonara-like sauce ($16).

Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, 800 S. Halsted St.; 312-413-5353 or uic.edu