An Invasion of Gastronomic Proportions: My Adventures with Chicago Animals, Human and Otherwise

Presented by Mike Sula,
Senior Writer, The Chicago Reader

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Mike’s favorite stories were about the people on the edges of the city’s food system; the oddballs, the uncelebrated, the immigrants cooking for their own—and especially the people willing to break the law to put food on the table. There was Shirley the Muffin Lady, making the rounds of the bars with baskets full of weed-spiked treats. There were the househusbands running an outlaw charcuterie operation out of a Skokie home kitchen. And then there was Chef Albert D’Angelo, the insufferable, arrogant jerk, who’d opened a secret restaurant out in the lake, two miles off Oak Street Beach.

Going over the quarter century of pieces Mike’s written for The Reader: there have been lots of tales of human animals doing strange things with other species—and not just eating them. There was the dastardly catnapping orchestrated by a stay-at-home mom; the colony of cemetery-dwelling, hot dog-gorging racoons and their human enablers; the farmer who cloned his prizewinning dairy cow; and the obsessive fossil collectors scouring slag piles filled with 300-million-year-old invertebrates. An invasion of Louisiana crawfish in the surging Chicago River, and the neighbors that waded in after them for dinner. Not every story will be covered, so you may want to get the book! All proceeds benefit the fifty-year-old Chicago Reader.

Mike Sula is a senior writer at The Chicago Reader. He’s the paper’s resident food writer and has been a contributor since 1995. He’s written about politics, crime, film, health care, and paleontology, and have profiled a rainbow of urban eccentrics. His work has been published in Harper’s, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, NPR’s The Salt, Plate, Eater, and more and his story about outlaw charcuterie appeared in Best Food Writing 2010. His story “Chicken of the Trees,” about eating city squirrels, won the James Beard Foundation’s 2013 M.F.K. Fisher Distinguished Writing Award. Mike is also the senior editor for Kitchen Toke, the magazine of culinary cannabis.

September 24, 2020
7:00 to 9:00 pm

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