When Potato Fields were Prisons: Unfree Farm Labor in McHenry County during World War II

Presented Samuel Klee, Ph.D. candidate
(Program in conjunction with the Highland Park Historical Society)

During World War II, some farmers in Marengo, Illinois negotiated with a large food corporation and federal agencies to make local farm fields into restricted, prison-like spaces. When the Curtiss Candy Company brought Japanese-Americans from the Tule Lake Internment Camp in California to cultivate and pick potatoes in 1943, the Marengo community struggled with the federal government and the candy company to eliminate the outsiders’ presence.

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Chicago’s evolving restaurant scene: How can the cherished small guy survive?

Presented by Master Chef Michael Lachowicz
Owner, George Trois, Aboyer, Silencieux, in Winnetka

Remember when you could get a great meal at an independently owned restaurant where the chef was often the owner, dishing out their unique culinary perspective? Well, as large restaurant groups continue to take over our dining scene, more independents are finding it difficult to compete. Continue reading

A Taste of FoodCultura, Part 2

Liz Rice presented her work comparing food choices in South Shore and Albany Park, two very different Chicago neighborhoods.

Paige Resnick exploring Chicago’s live poultry shops and the many issues associated with selecting and preparing one’s own chicken.

Presented by Students in
Foodcultura: The Art and Anthropology of Cuisine,
University of Chicago, Autumn 2019

In November we were treated to Maggi Galaxy, a presentation by Stephan Palmié, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago and Antoni Miralda, Barcelona-based artist and founder of FoodCultura. The artist and anthropologist are collaborating on a Chicago-focused project exploring the intersection between food, art, and other forms of cultural exchange. 

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A Taste of FoodCultura

Presented by Students in 
Foodcultura: The Art and Anthropology of Cuisine, 
University of Chicago, Autumn 2019

Yoon-Jee Choi’s analysis of cakes from Roeser’s Bakery through the eyes of a Bauhaus historian.

Eli Bec’s discussion of ofrendas prepared for Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead altars) and her own personal ofrenda

Alana Ferguson’s musings on cotton candy as an art form.

Maisie Watson and Daniel Simantob explored the intersection of public and private dining experiences at Sinhá, a Brazilian home-restaurant in Chicago and in their own apartment.

Persian Matzoh Ball Soup

In November we were treated to Maggi Galaxy, a presentation by Stephan Palmié, Professor of Anthropology at University of Chicago and Antoni Miralda, Barcelona-based artist and founder of FoodCultura. They are collaborating on a Chicago-focused project supported by a Gray Center Mellon Collaborative Fellowship, exploring the intersection between food, art, and other forms of cultural exchange. Continue reading

The Legitimacy and Legacy of Chinese Food in America

Presented by Louisa Chu and Monica Eng
Co-hosts, “Chewing” Podcast

“Chewing” podcast hosts Monica Eng, left, and Louisa Chu. (Michael Tercha / Chicago Tribune)

Links to mentions in podcast:
Chewing episode where Monica talks to Raymond Lee
How Chinese Restaurants Nearly Became Extinct across USA
What A Murder In My Family Reveals About Chicago’s Chinese Gangs
Why do Egg Rolls in Chicago Taste Like Peanut Butter?

Chicago Tribune food reporter Louisa Chu and WBEZ reporter Monica Eng talk about 150 years of Chinese food in America, how it was shaped by social, political, and legal circumstances plus how it shaped their own families and lives. The co-hosts of the Chewing podcast will document the Eng family restaurant dynasty in Chicago and how it reflected the food and culture of the times. Continue reading