Delicious History

Two new exhibits to stimulate your mind and your stomach

We like to follow food for thought with...more food.

Do just that with these two itineraries, featuring excellent new exhibits and nearby bites.

"Art and Appetite: American Painting, Culture and Cuisine" at The Art InstituteWayne Thiebaud's Salad, Sandwiches, and Desserts. Edward Hopper's Nighthawks. Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup. Disparate works with one thing in common: They all revolve around food. A new exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago features pieces from more than 200 years of American art, drawing parallels between cuisine, politics and culture. More than 100 paintings and objects (including cookbooks, menus and culinary tools) are on display in the exhibit, which opens today.

Eat: Grab a table at Terzo Piano, Tony Mantuano's sleek, airy restaurant on the third floor of the museum's Modern Wing. Analyze Hopper over spaghettini with bottarga and chiles ($15) or flatbread loaded with house-made sausage, roasted mushrooms and fennel cream ($17).

"Opening the Vaults: Wonders of the 1893 World's Fair" at The Field Museum: What do Wrigley's Gum, a cursed meteorite and a giant squid have in common? They were part of 50,000 objects show at the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. These relics, and the 200 others in this new Field Museum exhibit, have been in the collection since 1894, but many have never left the vault.

Eat: The World's Fair helped to introduce Chicagoans to cuisines from around the world. In 1893, guests could dine inside a German castle, an Irish Village and a Japanese teahouse. In that spirit, walk over to Nepal House in the South Loop and feast on momo (steamed chicken dumplings; $9) and mango lassis ($3.50).

Images: Norman Rockwell. Freedom from Want, 1942. Lent by the Norman Rockwell Museum, Norman Rockwell Art Collection Trust. © SEPS by Curtis Licensing. / Wayne Thiebaud. Salad, Sandwiches and Dessert, 1960. Lent by the Sheldon Museum of Art, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, NAA–Thomas C. Woods Memorial. Art © Wayne Thiebaud/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.