WEDNESDAY

Claritin, Lexapro, Viagra: Whether we’re sneezy, sad, or sexually frustrated, humankind owes a hearty thanks to science. And if you won’t give it up for those humdrum wonders, at least give props to the ones percolating in the University of Pennsylvania’s labs, where, thank goodness, the secret of what was consumed at King Midas’ funerary feast has finally been revealed. So stripped naked are the truths behind the Phrygian monarch’s food that the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology has posted recipes supposedly “from the Kitchen of Midas” on its Web site. Included are surprisingly specific instructions for making Garbanzo and Olive Spread, Caramelized Fennel Tarts, and Chicken-Currant Dolmades. Not so clearly detailed is a delicious-sounding Spicy Fire-Roasted Lamb and Lentil Stew—topped with watercress—the preparation of which, according to UPenn’s culinary archeologists, should be left to the “discretion of the chef.” Of course, none of this would be possible if, like so many other ancient sites, Midas’ tomb had been defiled by looters. But upon its virginal discovery in 1957, scientists were able to get to the bottom of this eighth-century B.C. ruler’s fabled life. As the folks at UPM helpfully point out, Midas “does not appear to have starved as a result of a putative ‘golden touch.’” Ask Elizabeth Simpson (pictured, front)—who’s been at the head of a project that has, over the past 24 years, “preserved and reconstructed much of the furniture from the tomb”—to tell you more when she speaks at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 10, at the S. Dillon Ripley Center, 1100 Jefferson Drive SW. $15. (202) 357-3030. (Mike Kanin)

More from WCP