Culinary Historians of Chicago

Culinary Historians of Chicago

Culinary Historians of Chicago studies the history of food and drink in human cultures. Why we procure, prepare and serve the food we do has cultural, sociological, geographical, financial and political influences. We encourage participation from all walks of life: from academics to home cooks, chefs to grill masters, farmers to heirloom gardeners, food scientists to students. Our programs, and those of our sister organization Chicago Foodways Roundtable, are supported by research, fieldwork and scholarship, though geared to an informed popular audience. We welcome everyone to gather at our table to share food, drink and their life’s culinary experiences. If you would like to contact us, please e-mail us at CulinaryHistorians@gmail.com

Episodes

May 14, 2021 150 min
Pizzeria Uno and the Mysterious Origins of Deep-Dish Pizza Peter Regas, PizzaHistoryBook.com Who invented deep-dish pizza? Is there a more controversial question in Chicago food history? There’s little doubt the pizzeria at 29 East Ohio Street in Chicago- originally named “The Pizzeria” later renamed “Pizzeria Uno”- served the original deep-dish pizza. But despite decades of debate and speculation, no one has definitively identifi...
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Ravinia Music Under the Stars Around the World An Archives Access Project Courtesy of the Illinois Secretary of State Presented by Steve Gianni, Project Archivist for Ravinia Park Collections Nancy Webster, Archivist of the Highland Park Archives and Local History Collections at the library This project has been a journey of discovery through the basement, closets and file cabinets of an institution established in 1904. A hidden ...
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April 20, 2021 70 min
Linking DNA to the microscope Timothy James PhD In the past twenty years the field of mycology has been revolutionized by studies that use DNA detected in the environment to reveal a hidden diversity that exceeds the diversity that has been formally described. In other words, what is present in the pages of journals and cabinets of herbaria is only the tip of the iceberg of a vast fungal species diversity. Unfortunately knowing so...
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The Making of James Beard, An American Legend Presented by John Birdsall, Author, The Man Who Ate Too Much Food of the past that comes to us through recipes and cookbooks can appear to be fixed evidence of what generations before us ate, their tastes and preferences. John Birdsall says that his research for The Man Who Ate Too Much: The Life of James Beard (Norton, 2020) challenged all his assumptions about that. The author found...
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Shooting Spores: Understand the Physics of the Most Amazing Apparatuses on Earth Presented by Anne Pringle, PhD Fungi use spores to move between habitats and spore dispersal is critical to their success. Fungi use an astonishing array of apparatuses and strategies to move their progeny: sacs filled with fluid that explode like water balloons, collapsing drops of liquid, and winds created by the cooperative release of hundreds of...
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How the Frugality of Rural Foodways Reshaped this Nationally Acclaimed Chef Presented by Vivian Howard Chef, Author, PBS Host Vivian Howard moved from New York back to her rural hometown to open a fine-dining restaurant that she hoped would reshape the palates of eastern North Carolina. But an encounter with collard kraut and a trip to “America’s largest pork display” ignited her interest in the traditional foods and culinary tec...
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Illuminating Fungi: the Science of Fungal Bioluminescence with Brian Perry PhD Fungal bioluminescence was first described by Aristotle (384-322 B.C.E.), and continues to fascinate and puzzle scientists today. While over 100 species of fungi are known to produce luminescent mushrooms or mycelium, the chemical and genetic basis of the light-producing reaction was only recently discovered, and the reason these fungi glow remains som...
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March 24, 2021 63 min
Swedish Pancakes for Breakfast? Presented by B. Marcus L. Cederström Folklorist Why do we eat the things we eat? And how do those things change due to migration? This talk explores what the foods we eat can tell us about immigration, identity, and Nordic-American life in the Upper Midwest, by focusing on coffee, lutefisk, and, of course, Swedish pancakes. Marcus Cederström earned his B.A. from the University of Oregon in Sport...
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The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food An interview with Chef Marcus Samuelsson Conducted by culinary historian and food writer Donna Pierce Black cooking has always been more than “soul food,” with flavors tracing to the African continent, to the Caribbean, all over the United States, and beyond. Join us as internationally acclaimed chef Marcus Samuelsson highlights the diverse deliciousness of Black cooking toda...
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Thoughts on the Origins of Pizzerias in America and Chicago with Peter Regas PizzaHistoryBook.com In the past, the historical consensus was the first licensed pizzeria in America was opened in 1905 at 53 Spring St. in New York City by a young Italian immigrant named Gennaro Lombardi. However, in 2019 at the U.S. Pizza Museum in Chicago, Peter Regas challenged that consensus with a talk titled “Filippo Milone and the Forgotten Pi...
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Mushroom Preservation: How to preserve, store and enjoy your foraged bounty for year-round use with Trent and Kristen Blizzard When the rains come the mushrooms often come out in abundance. If you do not want all those fresh mushrooms to go to waste, what can you do with them? Learn tips & techniques to preserve your fresh mushrooms from Trent and Kristen. Once preserved, you can enjoy them in the coming year, or give them ...
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What's in a Name? Understanding nomenclature and name changes Presented by Patrick Leacock, PhD Our current system of naming started 267 years ago with Carl Linnaeus. He gave us Agaricus (gilled fungi) and Boletus (pored fungi) and nine other genus names for 89 species of fungi. Later Fries and Persoon and others published lots more scientific names. The proliferation of names got messy. So 177 years ago folks started developi...
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January 15, 2021 71 min
Gordon Sinclair, Live! An interview with the Chicago culinary icon conducted by award-winning food writer and publisher Michael Gebert The following information appeared in The Chicago Food Encyclopedia, University of Illinois Press, 2017, and was authored by Barbara Revsine. Gordon Sinclair was working in public relations when a psychic predicted he would become a famous restaurateur. After working part-time as a maître d’ to s...
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An Onion in My Pocket, My Life with Vegetables Presented by Deborah Madison Thanks to her beloved cookbooks and groundbreaking work as the chef at Greens Restaurant in San Francisco, Deborah Madison, though not a vegetarian herself, has long been revered as this country’s leading authority on vegetables. She profoundly changed the way generations of Americans think about cooking with vegetables, helping to transform “vegetarian” f...
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How Trader Joe’s Changed the Way America Eats Presented by Susie Wyshak Discover Trader Joe’s key role in introducing fun and unusual foods into the American diet decades ago, when the company was already encouraging the non-health food store shopper to try “better for you” versions of already-popular foods. Wyshak compares items featured in a 1982 flyer to how we eat now to show TJ’s importance in creating a nation of adventurous...
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Women in the Kitchen, 12 Essential Cookbook Writers Who Defined the Way We Eat Anne Willan Women cookbook writers have had an enormous influence on the way we eat today. In her latest book, Women in the Kitchen: Twelve Essential Cookbook Writers Who Defined the Way We Eat, from 1661 to Today, Anne Willan profiles twelve of these women–from Hannah Woolley in the mid-1600s to Fannie Farmer, Edna Lewis, Alice Waters, and her dear fr...
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Sweet Greeks: First Generation Immigrant Confectioners in the Heartland Presented by Ann Flesor Beck Gus Flesor came to the United States from Greece in 1901. His journey led him to Tuscola, Illinois, where he learned the confectioner's trade and opened a business that still stands on Main Street. Sweet Greeks sets the story of Gus Flesor's life as an immigrant in a small town within the larger history of Greek migration t...
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November 10, 2020 53 min
Commercial Cordyceps Breeding Presented by William Padilla-Brown Over the past 2 years a select handful of individuals have been developing breeding techniques for commercial Cordyceps militaris strains. Follow each step from the forest to the lab and cultivate an understanding of the breeding process for this beloved fungi. WILLIAM PADILLA-BROWN Founder of MycoSymbiotics, William Padilla-Brown is a social entrepreneur, citizen ...
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No Ketchup! Why Dennis Foley Ate 50 Hot Dogs in 50 Days Presented by Dennis Foley “The basic Chicago dog has its own ingredients,” said Dennis Foley about the “Magnificent Seven” of mustard, onions, relish, tomatoes, pickle (or cucumber), sport peppers and celery salt that should top a dog with snap in a steamed bun. The Chicago-style Hot Dog is fit for kings and commoners alike. In Dennis Foley’s No Ketchup, you'll find Chi...
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What a Waste! Here’s what the world is doing to recover, reduce and recycle food waste Presented by Andrew Smith Culinary Historians, Author, Editor Don’t hold your nose! We’re not going to trash-talk you. Instead we’re going to offer you some savory food for thought when Andy Smith, one of our nation’s most esteemed culinary historians lifts the lid on a vital issue: food waste. Join us as Andy shows us how saving food and preve...
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