Local Flavor: Restaurants That Shaped Chicago’s Neighborhoods

Presented by Jean Iversen, Author

The neighborhoods that make up Chicago’s rich cultural landscape are often defined by the restaurants anchoring them. Food writer Jean Iversen delved into this idea more deeply, capturing the histories of eight Chicago restaurants (Won Kow, Tufano’s Vernon Park Tap, Nuevo Leon, The Parthenon, Borinquen, Red Apple Buffet, Hema’s Kitchen, and Noon O Kabab) and the neighborhoods they helped shape (Chinatown, Little Italy, Pilsen, Greektown, Humboldt Park, Avondale, Little India, and Albany Park). Continue reading

American Food has a History You Wouldn’t Believe!

Presented by Bruce Kraig, PhD
Author, President Emeritus, Culinary Historians of Chicago
CELEBRATING OUR 25TH YEAR—

On New Year’s Day 1836, President Andrew Jackson received a momentous culinary gift, a humongous cheese, 2 feet thick, 11 feet in circumference, and weighing 1400 pounds. It was created in the summer of 1835 by Col. Thomas S. Meacham, a prosperous dairy farmer with lands near Lake Ontario north of Syracuse New York. The mammoth cheese was sent by boat along the Erie Canal on to Washington. It was a public sensation. James Fenimore Cooper wrote of the same area of New York only two generations before as a wilderness that only gradually was being transformed.

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Constructions of Taste in Francisco Martínez Montiño’s 1611 Cookbook

Presented by Carolyn Nadeau, PhD

Drawing from concrete data on the recipes and their primary and secondary ingredients in Montiño’s 1611 court cookbook, Arte de cocina, pastelería, vizcochería y conservería [The art of cooking, pie making, pastry making and preserving], this essay examines concepts of taste as presented in this culinary artifact. Data analysis of close to 5,000 individual references to ingredients allows today’s scholars and gastronomes to gain access to what was being prepared in the royal kitchens and to establish for the first time the culinary scaffolding for what was eaten at court in early seventeenth-century Spain. Continue reading

Whatever Happened to Wheat? How Bread Meets Our Kneads

Presented by Chef Greg Wade
Head Baker, Publican Quality Bread, Chicago

“As a baker, wheat is obviously very important to me,” says nationally acclaimed bread baker Greg Wade. Join us as chef Wade presents us with a veritable bread basket of wheat history, along with the traditional farming techniques for wheat crops, and the types of breads made from different wheat. “Wheat has a fascinating history, from its origins in the Caucuses to modern bread wheat,” chef Wade says. “Wheat has shaped the world’s cultures more than any other crop.”

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Pasta and Noodles

Presented by Kantha Shelke, PhD, Author, Food Scientist

New Year, New Meeting Locations!
Bethany Retirement Community

Pasta and noodles are so ubiquitous and popular that many nations around the world claim them as their own invention. In fact, their origins are as murky as ever, a destination that Kantha Shelke sets out for in this fascinating history. Journeying across five continents and through distant lands, she takes us on a delicious culinary adventure in order to learn more about one of the world’s most popular—and satisfying—foods. Continue reading