WBEZ | Food http://www.wbez.org/tags/food Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Morning Shift: Chicago’s foodie tradition traces back many generations http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-02-16/morning-shift-chicago%E2%80%99s-foodie-tradition-traces-back-many <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/israeltourism.jpg" style="height: 640px; width: 640px;" title="Flickr/israeltourism" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/191444317&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit;">Bulls ready themselves for second-half push</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">The Bulls&rsquo; Jimmy Butler is having an all-star season. But a slight shoulder injury limited his playing time at the NBA All Star Game this weekend. Butler, Rose, Noah, Dunleavy, and Heinrich have been out hurt for extended stretches during the first half of the season. WBEZ&rsquo;s Cheryl Raye Stout tells us if they can get healthy -and stay healthy- as the team makes the push toward the playoffs.&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/crayestout">Cheryl Raye Stout</a> is a WBEZ reporter.&nbsp;</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/191444305&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 24px;">Gov. Rauner&#39;s Gs</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Gov. Bruce Rauner&#39;s hobbies include &quot;huntin&#39; and fishin,&quot; but some of his critics say he might be forcing this folksy tone. WBEZ&#39;s Amanda Vinicky takes a look at the evolution of Gov. Rauner&#39;s public speaking and shares her story with us.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest: </strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/AmandaVinicky">Amanda Vinicky</a> is a WBEZ reporter.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/191444318&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 24px;">Chicago Auto Show opens</span></p></div><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">The Chicago Auto Show has been giving consumers the chance to see the latest and greatest model cars and trucks for years. This year, we take a look at the industry&#39;s top trends and what the 2015 show might have revealed at its Saturday opening. New car expert and auto journalist Jim Gorzelany joins us with insight on everything from the technology behind outrageous concept cars to how low gas prices might be affecting consumer interest.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/jgorzelany">Jim Gorzelany</a> is a chicago-based journalist covering the auto industry.&nbsp;</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/191444313&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 24px;">Chicago&rsquo;s foodie tradition traces back many generations</span></p></div><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Chicago food culture owes so much to the many immigrants and cultures that make up the city. ABC 7 food reporter Steve Dolinksy and Chicago historian Dominic Pacyga trace these paths with us as they prepare for &nbsp;<a href="http://the606.org/events/">Rails to Tales: Immigrant Stories of The 606 </a>on Tuesday.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/stevedolinsky">Steve Dolinsky</a> is an ABC 7 reporter and known as the Hungry Hound.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><em>Dominic Pacyga is a Chicago historian and professor.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/191444304&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><div class="image-insert-image "><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 24px;">Many Chicagoans made SNL what it is these past 40 years</span></p></div><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Chicago&rsquo;s impact on the national comedy scene is well documented. Second City has produced stars like Tina Fey, Bill Murray and Gilda Radner, among others. And many of those Chicago upstarts find their greater audience on the Saturday Night Live stage. SNL is celebrating 40 years and we look back at some of the Chicagoans who have created some of the show&rsquo;s finest moments over the past four decades.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em>Darel Jevens is the Chicago <a href="https://twitter.com/Suntimes">Sun-Times</a> entertainment editor.</em></p></p> Mon, 16 Feb 2015 07:54:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-02-16/morning-shift-chicago%E2%80%99s-foodie-tradition-traces-back-many Underground Korean-French dinner serves up mystery and music http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/underground-korean-french-dinner-serves-mystery-and-music-111470 <p><p>In mid-December I returned from vacation to find a handmade Christmas tree and card inviting me to dinner in a private suburban home hosted by &ldquo;a crazy hair stylist, a crazy dancer and crazy French Cuisine cooker.&rdquo;</p><p>It was from a man named David Cho, whom I interviewed more than 15 years ago about his nascent karaoke booth business.&nbsp; My first thought was, &ldquo;no way.&rdquo; But I figured I should at least call and decline. By the end of the call with Mr Cho, however, I told him I would go as long as my bosses OK&rsquo;d it, and I could pay for the meal.</p><p>When I told my friends on Facebook that I&rsquo;d been dining in the in the Northwest suburbs, Tribune restaurant critic Phil Vettel wrote back, &ldquo;10 minutes from the airport. You&#39;ll be over international waters before we know you&#39;re missing.&rdquo;</p><p>Sure, it was a risk but one I felt we are all too ready to avoid when it comes to meeting new people and checking out the workd of unknown culinary artists. Right? I invited my mom and 11-year-old daughter, to make sure I wasn&rsquo;t captured alone.</p><blockquote><p><a href="https://www.tumblr.com/reblog/109616767565/SaAaSRvg" target="_blank"><strong>Photos from Monica&#39;s 10-course meal</strong></a></p></blockquote><p>When we finally arrived, Mr. Cho met us in the parking lot of the very old condo complex. He led us up some stairs to a guy who looked like a Korean Harpo Marx dressed as a chef.&nbsp; As we entered the dining room/living room of his tiny place we found an elaborately decorated table, pink placemats, crystal. Loud French bistro music poured from the giant TV all night.</p><p>Hello Kitty, My Little Pony and other dolls filled the nearby shelves along with several more homemade Christmas trees. Other souvenirs included tiny chef dolls, Eiffel Tower replicas and pictures from chef James Hahn&rsquo;s many hair styling exhibitions.</p><p>I joined the other guests at the table and Hahn disappeared into the kitchen.</p><p>Within minutes, the first course was on the table. It was a purplish salad that Hahn said reflected his time in Nice, France.</p><p>Cho explained that Hahn was in Paris studying hairdressing when he first became fascinated with cooking. He said Hahn learned as much as he could about French food before returning to Korea to become a famous hairstylist. It has only been since his arrival in the States that he&rsquo;s started cooking for groups.&nbsp;</p><p>Hahn has hosted about 10 of these dinners, spending weeks planning and preparing the meals. Guests are invited from the from the ranks of Hahn&#39;s favorite customers at Gloria Hair Art beauty salon in Niles. They often donate money at the end of the meal to help cover food expenses. Hahn works completely alone, as prep cook, chef and server.</p><p>&ldquo;This is his secondary job or like a hobby,&rdquo; Cho said. &ldquo;So I don&rsquo;t know how many times he&rsquo;s going to do this in the future, making a 10-course meal by himself. He needs a lot of energy. So maybe he&rsquo;ll do two or three times more. As far as I know he&rsquo;s more than 40-years-old. I don&rsquo;t know how much more energy he&rsquo;s got left. Last time I was here he was even sweating a lot.&rdquo;</p><p>Even though I knew the meal would be a multi-course affair, I hadn&rsquo;t expected it to be so elaborate. By the 6th course of fried lobster in an apple garlic sauce I was ready to pop. But there was still steak, abalone, sashimi and dessert to come. (see full course list below)</p><p>As the meal progressed, I started to understand Hahn&rsquo;s prominence in the Korean community--if not exactly why I was called here tonight.</p><p>It seems that he had become a sort of dancing, hairdresser celebrity in Korea, appearing on talk shows and styling the hair of the stars.</p><p>&ldquo;He&rsquo;s recognized as No. 1 hairstylist in the Korean community,&rdquo; Cho said, &ldquo;And he wants to be known for all of the United States. He is especially known for giving crazy haircuts in 10 minutes.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Can he give me a crazy haircut?&rdquo; I asked.</p><p>&ldquo;He can do whatever you want in 10 minutes,&rdquo; Cho said. &ldquo;He doesn&rsquo;t take long hours.&rdquo;</p><p>We finally finished the meal with a refreshing dragon fruit salad, and Cho announced that it was time to watch videos. These included Hahn&#39;s appearances on Korean talk shows, his dance performances and dancing haircutting acts. During some, his clients are even upside down. The final video showed him dancing and styling a red-haired client on stage at Chicago&rsquo;s Korean Festival on Bryn Mawr Avenue this past summer.</p><p>The clips from Korea showed elaborate headdresses that Hahn had created from his clients&#39; hair trimmings.&nbsp; Some took a year to produce. They have to be seen to be believed.</p><p>It was nearing midnight and my daughter was getting sleepy. So we left our donation, offered our deep thanks and we said our goodbyes. Despite my initial apprehension, it turned out that all Cho and Hahn wanted was to share their passion for food with a fellow foodie. And everyone left the experience alive.</p><p>As I told my daughter on the way out: this may have been a slightly risky move, but if you pass up every crazy invitation you get, you just may miss out on some magical experiences.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/16202028940_84a71beaeb_z.jpg" style="height: 349px; width: 620px;" title="Course eight: Rare porterhouse steak slices in a garlic pepper salsa with microgreens. (WBEZ/Monica Eng)" /></div><p><strong>Full 10 course menu</strong></p><ol><li>Ten-vegetable salad in the style of Nice, France. (pineapple jam)</li><li>Kemasal soup featuring a seafood broth, broccoli florets and shredded crab</li><li>Roasted burdock over bok choy, ginger and scallions.</li><li>Scallops in a cauliflower puree</li><li>Boiled shrimp and lobster tail in a pink sauce.</li><li>Fried lobster in an apple sauce showered in garlic chips. A slice of smoked salmon in a pink horseradish sauce on the side.</li><li>Steamed whole abalone served in the shell with mushrooms and accompanied by a piece of rolled grilled prosciutto.</li><li>Rare porterhouse steak slices in a garlic pepper salsa with microgreens.Broiled garlic lobster tail, tuna sashimi and an asparagus spear.</li><li>Broiled garlic lobster tail, tuna sashimi and an asparagus spear.</li><li>Dragon fruit, pineapple, persimmon, candied citrus and grapefruit salad.</li></ol><p><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of the Chewing The Fat podcast. Follow her at</em><a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng"> <em>@monicaeng</em></a> <em>or write to her at <a href="mailto:meng@wbez.org">meng@wbez.org</a></em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 28 Jan 2015 16:54:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/underground-korean-french-dinner-serves-mystery-and-music-111470 What happens when a Chicago mom tries to become a deer hunter? http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/what-happens-when-chicago-mom-tries-become-deer-hunter-111390 <p><p><em>Some of the images in the slideshow above depict graphic scenes from deer hunting.</em></p><p>After years of handwringing over the ethics of meat, I decided that this year I needed to kill my own &mdash; or maybe stop eating it.</p><p>My evolution started a decade ago with meat I bought from local farmers who raised the animals outside. Before long I tried to <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2008-09-21/features/0809160163_1_organic-meat-sales-pig-factory"><u>attend the slaughter of every kind of meat I ate</u></a> for a summer. I moved on to<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D45zEpIzxiM"> <u>learning how to butcher</u></a> animals myself. And finally I thought I was ready to kill my own dinner. &nbsp;</p><p>It was <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/columnists/chi-110226-hunt-novices-pictures-photogallery.html"><u>part of a project that I did</u></a> with my then-colleague Barbara Brotman when I was a reporter at the <em>Chicago Tribune</em>.</p><p>We wanted to see if you could take two urban moms and turn them into hunters.</p><p>We worked under hunting mentors including Department of Natural Resources instructors Bill Boggio and Ralph Schultz, who told us &ldquo;If you can learn to walk like a squirrel, you can sneak up on anything in the woods.&rdquo;</p><p>But after freezing through several weekends in deer stands and deer blinds on the Illinois-Iowa border in 2010, we came away with nothing. A minor gun accident convinced our editors that it was probably time to stop. So that was the end of it.</p><p>Or so I thought.</p><p>As I&rsquo;ve continued to report on food ethics over the years the fact that I never faced the true cost of meat &mdash; never killed my meal myself &mdash; has gnawed at my conscience. &nbsp;</p><p>So much so, that this year I decided I had to hunt again. &nbsp;</p><p>I knew it would be a long shot. I&rsquo;d have to get licenses, guns, land, special equipment, time off from work and kids, and mentors to guide me. But somehow I managed to do it.</p><p>I revisited hunter safety. Brushed back up on deer anatomy. And relearned how to shoot a gun.</p><p>My new mentor was Kankakee county horsewoman and hairdresser Amy Strahan. She scouted a spot with me and even convinced her dad, Bill, to help us put together a tree stand.</p><p>Next I headed to the Farm and Fleet boys department for more than $200 in head to toe camo gear. Amy kept my hunting clothes in one of her horse stalls for weeks to soak up animal smells.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/HUNTER%20AMY.jpg" title="Amy Strahan agreed to become Monica Eng’s hunting partner for this year’s season in Kankakee County. She sits here in the woods just minutes before a four-point buck approached the two of them. (WBEZ/MONICA ENG)" /></div><p>Then in late November, I slipped on those clothes before dawn and jumped into Amy&rsquo;s truck. After a short drive, we crossed a craggy frozen field, climbed into our stand and sat in the darkness with the faint whine of the interstate in the distance. The warmth generated by our hike faded as the frosty predawn temperatures crept under my five layers of clothing. I started to remember that, the last time I tried the biggest challenge was just warding off frost bite. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>But I also remembered that hunting gives you a front row seat to the spectacle of mother nature turning up the house lights on the world. I sat on the east side of the tree stand and welcomed the tiny warm of the rising sun on my face. &nbsp;</p><p>Three frigid deerless hours later, &nbsp;I was thrilled to hear Amy announce that she had to get to work and we called it a day. I spent the rest of the day just thawing out and vowing to bring hand and footwarmers next time.</p><p>But by 5 a.m. the next morning I was dressed and trudging through a now-slippery rainsoaked field cradling a 12 gauge shotgun. Let&rsquo;s just say this is not my typical day as an urban food writer. And still no deer. The whole thing was startng to feel futile and a little absurd.</p><p>As we climbed out of our stand for the second morning, I asked Amy what she thought.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a little discouraging,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve usually seen something by now. But we&rsquo;ll just keep trying.&rdquo;</p><p>On the advice of farmer Roger Marcott, who was letting us use his land, we checked out another spot in a treeline across the road.</p><p>This time we had bellies full of big country diner breakfasts and a bottle of doe urine that we dabbed on cottonballs and placed in the trees.</p><p>Before we even loaded our guns, a buck appeared 40 yards away, snorted and dashed off. A doe frolicked in the distance but she was too far to shoot. My mentors always stressed that one of the worst things you can do is maim an animal with a bad shot. Waiting for a clean kill is essential.</p><p>So we settled down on a log tuning into every little crackle in woods. And then just as I was about to nod off, I heard a rustling in the tall dry weeds. A four-point buck was walking right toward us. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>My heart thudded in my chest as the deer browsed the greenery and kept advancing. He was now 15 yards away but facing us. Side shots are always a lot cleaner, but he wouldn&rsquo;t turn. Finally, he raised his head and turned his body to leave.</p><p>Amy had taken four deer in the last five years, but I&rsquo;d never shot anything.&nbsp;</p><p>She held her 20 gauge shotgun steady with her scope focused on the target and assumed I was doing the same.</p><p>But I&rsquo;d chickened out. All I had in hand was my recording equipment.</p><p>Finally, when the deer turned to leave, she took a shot. The deer leapt in the air and dashed away. I assumed she missed or just nicked him. But we followed after him anyway.</p><p>The trail of blood grew thicker as we followed it into another nearby wooded area where just 40 yards away he lay motionless, eyes wide open, tongue flopped to one side and a scarlet hole in his chest.</p><p>I was stunned that it could be over that quickly. Amy was stunned that I never lifted my gun.</p><p>&ldquo;I had no idea you were just recording,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;I was waiting patiently, waiting patiently, and then when he turned to leave, I took a shot.&rdquo;</p><p>Amy is a Kankakee mom, hairdresser and horsewoman who agreed to take me hunting this season. It was part of a decade long personal and professional project to&nbsp; understand the true cost of my meat.&nbsp;</p><p>She thought today I&rsquo;d shoot my first deer, but it wasn&rsquo;t to be. She said my face had gone ashen. But we needed to move quickly, to remove his internal organs and cool him down or the meat would start to rot.&nbsp; Neither of us had ever done this.&nbsp;</p><p>So we heaved the 170 pound buck out of the forest and called, Roger Marcotte, the farmer who was letting us use his land.</p><p>While we were waiting, I asked Amy how she felt.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;I think I would have been just as happy to let that buck walk on by.&rdquo;</p><p>Even though we both eat meat, the immediacy of the experience was filling us both with some remorse. She confessed that after she shot her first, &ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t think I would ever be able to do it again.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>Roger arrived in his tractor and we loaded the buck and ourselves into the tractor&rsquo;s bucket, the part usually used to shovel grain or dirt. As we rode across the craggy field, the buck lay at our feet like a sleeping pet. I took some video and thought about how unlike a normal day at the office this had been. But it was about to get even stranger.</p><p>Amy&rsquo;s friend Luke Chappel was waiting for us with his field dressing equipment at the edge of the field.</p><p>&ldquo;Did you bring some [rubber] gloves?&rdquo; Amy asked.<br />&ldquo;No,&rdquo; Luke replied. &ldquo;I just go in raw.&rdquo;<br />&ldquo;Awwww,&rdquo; Amy responded.&rdquo;Really?&rdquo;</p><p>Luke explained the first cut is around the anus cavity to prevent any feces from spoiling the meat. Next we had to gently slice through the skin and fur on the buck&rsquo;s belly to expose and carefully remove his organs.</p><p>Luke&rsquo;s taken dozens of deer as a hunter. I asked if it ever made him sad.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;If you don&rsquo;t have some remorse, there&rsquo;s something wrong with you,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;You gotta have some remorse. You&rsquo;re taking a life. But this is going to feed your kids. You&rsquo;re not wasting it. You&rsquo;re not just leaving it there and killing things for fun.&rdquo;</p><p>We left the colorful jewel-like pile of organs in the field for the coyotes to eat and brought the carcass across the road to Faith&rsquo;s Farm. Farmer Kim Snyder raises livestock outdoors and she was letting me stay at her house.</p><p>After we hosed off the carcass and cooled it down, we hung it in a barn to dry age several days.</p><p>Amy had to return to her kids but Luke said he&rsquo;d take me out the next morning--the last legal day of the month. I was still feeling pretty shaken by the day&rsquo;s events, but agreed to go.</p><p>After a third restless night of sleep and more dreams about deer, I rose at 4:45 a.m. and was out in the field by 5. Luke and I settled down behind the same log where Amy and I had hunted but saw nothing. We called it a day.</p><p>For the next two weeks, I mulled over the experience, haunted by my failure to pull the trigger. My license granted me one last weekend of hunting in early December. And I went to bed thinking about it every night, but finally decided I was done. My boss, however, thought differently. I ran into him on the Friday of the last hunting window of the season. He said I needed to follow it through.</p><p>So I returned to Roger&rsquo;s land to meet Amy on Sunday, the last day of the season. She was delayed so I struck out on my own. Roger was just a phone call away if I needed help, but the help I needed was a compass. I got lost looking for our old spot and wandered way off course. I&rsquo;m sure I angered and amused several hunters who watched me in their binoculars spook the deer on their land.&nbsp;</p><p>Eventually, I was picked up for trespassing by the landowner. Her name was Vanna. She grows pumpkins and sews American Girl Doll clothing in the off season. I apologized and got a ride back to Faith&rsquo;s Farm.</p><p>There I checked my phone and found a new text from Amy. It said:</p><p>&ldquo;I feel so bad. I&rsquo;m so sorry. I am trying to rally some troops in case you get one. If you have a shot, take it. But I will warn you, the remorse is hardest the first time. But you feel it every time.&rdquo;</p><p>With this warning echoing in my head, I ventured back out into the field--this time to the nearby tree stand. At least I knew how to get there. And I load my gun.</p><p>It was a cold, windy December afternoon and worse in the treestand. But it was also supremely peaceful up there. As a mom whose life is organized by deadlines, I can count on one hand the number of times I&rsquo;ve felt totally justified doing nothing but tuning in to nature for hours.&nbsp;</p><p>Still, as the sun began to fall, it became increasingly clear that today the deer would win and I would lose. They&rsquo;d chosen to make themselves scarce. But I wasn&rsquo;t altogether ungrateful. I honestly don&rsquo;t know if I was ready.</p><p>Farmer Kim Snyder, who was housing me during my trip, told me as much. She blamed it on my city upbringing that didn&rsquo;t prepare me for the realities of animal life and death when it comes to food. She had a point.</p><p>When and if I do go back out next year, I want to feel more confident. I want to leave behind this nagging sense of fear and doubt.</p><p>To do this, hunting expert and author Hank Shaw told me that I needed to get to the range and sharpen my shooting skills in the off season. He said I&rsquo;ll still feel sad after a kill but the least I can do is &ldquo;give any animal I shoot a death that I would be proud to have.&rdquo;</p><p>For that, I&rsquo;ll need practice and maybe even my own a gun. This was never part of the original plan.<br /><br />I still don&rsquo;t know what the future holds. But deer hunting season doesn&rsquo;t start up again&nbsp; in Kankakee County for another 11 months. So I&rsquo;ve got a little time to figure it out.</p><p><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-51e5f9a0-e4d5-f7cb-20cc-67497667a133">Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of the Chewing The Fat podcast. Follow her at</span><a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng"> @monicaeng</a> or write to her at meng@wbez.org</em></p></p> Tue, 13 Jan 2015 13:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/what-happens-when-chicago-mom-tries-become-deer-hunter-111390 Global Activism: Meal Sharing on Thanksgiving http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-meal-sharing-thanksgiving-111135 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/mealsharing.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Thanksgiving is almost here. And as many prepare to hit the roads and skies to see family and friends,&nbsp; you may be traveling with no place to go or you might be home alone.&nbsp; Jason Savsani says he has a solution for you. He&rsquo;s founder of Meal Sharing. It&rsquo;s a website and app that promotes cultural diplomacy by connecting meal providers to meal seekers, around the globe. For Global Activism, Savsani will tell us how to connect you with a meal and friends for the Holidays.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/177864474&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;visual=true" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 11:06:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-meal-sharing-thanksgiving-111135 What's the key to better school food? http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/whats-key-better-school-food-111051 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/BETTER SCHOOL FOOD.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In the last decade, school districts around the nation have tried different formulas to reform student lunches. Some think the answer lies in salad bars. Others have tried all organic programs. Still others have put their bets on school gardens.</p><p>But one little known program out of Minnesota starts by simply removing seven unwanted ingredients.</p><p>&ldquo;We have no artificial colors, no artificial sweeteners, no artificial preservatives, no trans fats or hydrogenated oils, no antibiotics or hormones in meats and no bleached flour,&rdquo; Jason Thunstrom said as he stood in the Jeans Elementary School lunchroom in West Suburban Willowbrook.</p><p>Thunstrom is President of the Life Time Fitness Foundation, which has provided 90 schools in four states with money to buy foods without the seven ingredients. The lunches end up looking a lot like what you&rsquo;d see in any other low income schools, just sourced from manufacturers who don&rsquo;t use artificial colors, sweeteners or preservatives or trans fats and meat raised with antibiotics.&nbsp;</p><p>One of those food manufacturers is Bill Kurtis. Yes, the legendary anchorman. He has been selling grass-fed beef under his Tallgrass brand for years, but just recently got into the hot dog game. He was also at Jeans Elementary on a recent afternoon watching the debut of his hot dogs in a school cafeteria.</p><p>&ldquo;We put grassfed beef in and we took out nitrates ... and preservatives that you&rsquo;ll find in regular hot dogs,&quot; Kurtis said. &rdquo;And it&rsquo;s why your mother is a little afraid for you to have a regular diet of hot dogs.&quot;</p><p>Kurtis was speaking to a room of low-income third graders, who seemed unfamiliar with his work as a newscaster but highly appreciative of hot dog-making skills.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;They taste really good,&rdquo; third-grader Renaya said.</p><p>Some of her classmates even appreciated the meal on its nutritional merits.</p><p>&ldquo;It was really good because I put ketchup on the hot dog and a bun is [whole] grain,&rdquo; third-grader Malcolm said.</p><p>Thunstrom says one of the students eating this hot dog, corn, carrot, apple and milk lunch was eating the millionth meal served in the Life Time funded program.&nbsp;</p><p>The whole idea was spawned, he says, by concern the company&rsquo;s CEO had over his own child entering school. When he heard about what was served in most American lunchrooms, he initially considered buying up the lunch program.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;But then reality set in, and he realized it would be an expensive proposition,&rdquo; Thunstrom remembered.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>So instead of buying the whole program, Life Time decided to do an experiment&mdash;to see what it would take to get those seven ingredients out of school food.</p><p>&ldquo;We started with one school in Minnesota just as a test to see if we could go in and look at their lunch and remove those seven items what might that cost,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;We were surprised to find it was about 35 cents [per student meal] on average.&rdquo;</p><p>This first phase of the program involves serving better versions of lunchrooms standards like hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken nuggets and pizza. But Thunstrom says the longer term goal is to upgrade kitchens and support more cooking from scratch.&nbsp;</p><p>To this end, Life Time presented the school with a $10,000 check to upgrade its kitchen for more scratch cooking.</p><p>Still, the endgame isn&rsquo;t to keep writing unlimited checks. Thunstrom says that the ultimate goal is to get other funders, administrators, and eventually, the federal government to recognize the value of such a program and make it the norm.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;d like this model to become known to government officials and school administrators,&rdquo; Thunstrom said. &ldquo;You know, to say &lsquo;it&rsquo;s America, enough&rsquo;s enough.&rsquo; We think it&rsquo;s worth investing in our kids an incremental 35 cents to at least get them on a healthy way of life journey at school. Then can we also [create] lesson planning and take-home material to help that bleed over into the home.&rdquo;</p><p>And he doesn&rsquo;t just mean the homes of corporate CEOs.</p><p><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of the <a href="http://wbez.org/podcasts">Chewing The Fat</a>&nbsp;podcast. Follow her at <a href="http://twitter.com/monicaeng" target="_blank">@monicaeng </a>or write to her at meng@wbez.org</em></p></p> Mon, 03 Nov 2014 12:34:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/whats-key-better-school-food-111051 Longtime Rogers Park butcher hangs up his apron http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/longtime-rogers-park-butcher-hangs-his-apron-111043 <p><p dir="ltr">At first glance, Ed &amp; Erv&rsquo;s Centrella Food Mart on Touhy Avenue looks like any other small neighborhood grocer. Step inside and the first thing you notice is the smell of mothballs. On the shelves are the usual dry goods: cereal, canned beans and rice. Milk and dairy are in a refrigerator at the rear, and in a corner next to the cash register is a small area for fresh vegetables and fruits.</p><p dir="ltr">But all the way in the back is the store&rsquo;s real hidden gem: a butcher&rsquo;s counter. Denny Mondl, the owner, stands behind a case of his special ground chuck, homemade Italian sausage, bratwurst and skinless hot dogs.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Obviously my specialty is the butcher. Probably two-thirds of my sales are in the back,&rdquo; he said.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Rogers%20Park%20grocer%202.JPG" style="float: right; height: 208px; width: 310px;" title="Mondl’s father, Erv Mondl, co-founded the neighborhood grocery 47 years ago on Touhy Ave. in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood. (WBEZ/Odette Yousef)" /></div><p dir="ltr">Mondl&rsquo;s father, the &lsquo;Erv&rsquo; in the store name, opened the store with his business partner in 1947. For nearly seven decades, the small shop served generations of Rogers Park residents who were in the know about the high-quality meats they stocked, and who came to regard the Mondl family as a part of an extended family.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Denny really exemplified what is so good about this neighborhood,&rdquo; said longtime Rogers Park resident Kathy Kirn.</p><p dir="ltr">Kirn&rsquo;s son, now 18 years old and attending college in Boston, once worked as a cashier in Mondl&rsquo;s store. Kirn said as soon as her son found out Mondl planned to close, he bought an airplane ticket to Chicago to visit his old boss.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Denny would make him sandwiches,&rdquo; Kirn said of her son, when he was in grade school. Like many regulars, Kirn&rsquo;s family kept a running tab, paid off regularly, at the store. Mondl never hassled them for payment on the spot.</p><p dir="ltr">Kirn recalled one time that Mondl saved a large family dinner from going awry. She had ordered brisket for a large Rosh Hashanah dinner, but her husband forgot to pick it up. &ldquo;We got home and the babysitter with our kid said someone came and delivered something,&rdquo; Kirn said.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;And Denny had it delivered to my house. He said &lsquo;I knew it was important, so I just had someone deliver it.&rsquo; Who does that? No one does that.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">But Mondl said business really slowed down in the last decade.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I used to do six deliveries a day, and I probably do about six a week now,&rdquo; Mondl said.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Rogers%20Park%20grocer%203.JPG" style="float: left; height: 208px; width: 310px;" title="Customers have been signing a guestbook in recent weeks, filled with their memories of Mondl and how the store played a role in their lives. (WBEZ/Odette Yousef)" /></div><p dir="ltr">Many of his older customers have passed away, and he thinks younger customers are too tired to go home and cook a meal after work.</p><p dir="ltr">Ironically, once people knew it was his last week, Mondl found himself just as busy as he was in the store&rsquo;s heyday.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve been making a ton of stuffed chicken breast and stuffed pork chops for people,&rdquo; said Mondl. &ldquo;And when I say a ton, I usually get a 40-lb box of chicken breast. I&rsquo;ve already gotten 120 lbs of chicken breast this week alone to bone out the breast to put the stuffing in it. And pork loins, the same thing.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Hollye Kroger, a Rogers Park resident who only discovered Mondl&rsquo;s store last year, said she&rsquo;s very sad to see him retire. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m getting all kinds of food, tons of food to take home,&rdquo; she said, &ldquo;and stuffed chicken to stick in my freezer so I can pretend that it&rsquo;s still open for another couple of months.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Mondl said that at 65 years old, he&rsquo;s the only one among his grade-school and high-school buddies who still works full-time, so he&rsquo;s ready to hang up his butcher apron.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I&rsquo;m going to miss talking to people and the camaraderie with everybody,&rdquo; he said. But he&rsquo;s ready to take it easy. &ldquo;I have projects at home to finish that I&rsquo;ve only started,&rdquo; he said, &ldquo;because I&rsquo;ve only been off one day a week.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/oyousef">@oyousef</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>.</em></p></p> Sat, 01 Nov 2014 17:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/longtime-rogers-park-butcher-hangs-his-apron-111043 Whom do you trust when it comes to nutrition advice? http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/whom-do-you-trust-when-it-comes-nutrition-advice-111003 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/FOOD SCORES_picmonkeyed.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Whom do you trust when it comes to food and health advice?</p><p>This is the fundamental question underlying the latest food skirmish between health activists The Environmental Working Group and &ldquo;big food&rdquo; represented by the Grocery Manufacturers Association.&nbsp;</p><p>Last week, the EWG released its<a href="http://www.ewg.org/foodscores" target="_blank"> Food Scores</a> database rating 80,000 foods on a variety of criteria that encompass nutrition, ingredients and processing. Foods like <a href="http://www.ewg.org/foodscores/products?search=organic+kale" target="_blank">organic kale</a> score 1 (the best) while <a href="http://www.ewg.org/foodscores/products?search=flamin+hot+cheetos" target="_blank">Flamin&rsquo; Hot Cheeto Puffs</a> get a 10 (the worst).</p><p>But today, the <a href="http://www.gmaonline.org/news-events/newsroom/grocery-manufacturers-association-statement-on-environmental-working-group/" target="_blank">GMA responded</a> by calling the Food Score database &ldquo;severely flawed&rdquo; and predicting it will &ldquo;only provide consumers with misinformation about the food and beverage products they trust and enjoy.&rdquo;</p><p>The GMA, which represents some of the biggest food manufacturers in the world, accused EWG of using &ldquo;isolated studies&rdquo; to penalize foods containing artificial sweeteners and added sugar. It further questioned the group&rsquo;s algorithm for weighing certain factors too heavily in its final scores.</p><p>The Association said that the best advice for health and nutrition comes from the Nutrition Facts Panel and the U.S. Department of Agriculture&#39;s Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Critics, however, argue that it is those very guidelines--which, for decades, have emphasized fat reduction over sugar and carbohydrate restrictions--that have led to a in tripling in American obesity over the past 40 years.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Additionally, EWG says information on packaging is limited.</p><p>&ldquo;When you think about healthy food, you have to think beyond the Nutrition Facts panel,&rdquo; said Renee Sharp, EWG&rsquo;s director of research. &ldquo;It doesn&rsquo;t always tell the whole story. EWG&rsquo;s Food Scores shows that certain foods that we think are good for us may actually be much less so because they contain questionable food additives or toxic contaminants.&rdquo;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Tuesday, the Alliance for Food and Farming, a produce industry group, <a href="http://safefruitsandveggies.com/blog/ewg-gives-top-scores-produce" target="_blank">trumpeted the high ratings</a> the EWG gave to produce. It also noted that the EWG encourages consumers to eat plenty of fresh produce.</p><p>But the AFF, which represents both conventional and organic produce growers, once again called on EWG to stop its &ldquo;Dirty Dozen&rdquo; and &ldquo;Clean Fifteen&rdquo; lists. These popular lists rate produce based on pesticide residues as measured by the USDA, but the AFF finds them misleading.</p><p>&ldquo;If EWG doesn&rsquo;t stop, the AFF will happily remind consumers about the &lsquo;1&rsquo; scores and EWG&rsquo;s new consumption message every single time the &lsquo;dirty dozen&rsquo; list receives attention. Every single time.&rdquo;</p><p>So which organizations or agencies do you trust to provide balanced nutrition information? Tell us in the comments.</p><p><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of the Chewing The Fat podcast. Follow her at <a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng" target="_blank">@monicaeng</a> or write to her at meng@wbez.org</em></p></p> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 15:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/whom-do-you-trust-when-it-comes-nutrition-advice-111003 Nutrition programs ditch whole milk http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/nutrition-programs-ditch-whole-milk-110929 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/school lunch (1).jpeg" alt="" /><p><p>Last school year, lunchrooms across the nation got a dietary makeover. New rules banished 2 percent and whole milk from the National School Lunch Program. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>This month, Illinois&rsquo; Women Infant and Children feeding program followed suit by now offering skim and 1 percent almost exclusively.</p><p>&ldquo;This was a decision by the United States&rsquo; Department of Agriculture, who funds our program,&rdquo; says Stephanie Bess program director for Illinois WIC. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s designed to align our food packages with the messages that we provide to our participants. Since 1995, the dietary guidelines for Americans have recommended low-fat milk.&rdquo;</p><p>But critics say, 1995 was a long time ago, and that these guidelines have almost no scientific evidence to back them up.</p><p>Dr. David Ludwig directs the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children&rsquo;s Hospital. He wants to see better science behind the program decisions.</p><p>&ldquo;It seems to make sense that if we just got rid of the saturated fat in milk there could be health benefits and there would be weight loss and lower cardiovascular disease risk factors,&rdquo; Ludwig says. &ldquo;Unfortunately, there is virtually no evidence that reducing fat in milk will have any health benefits at all.&rdquo;</p><p>Last year, <a href="http://archpedi.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1704826">Ludwig wrote an editorial</a> with Harvard&rsquo;s Public Health chief Walter Willett warning officials against low-fat school milk. They represent a growing group of scientists and doctors who say the low-fat dietary guidelines run counter to public health.</p><p>USDA representatives declined to be interviewed for this story, but offered a written statement saying the recommendations came from &ldquo;experts in health, nutrition, school food service, and economics.&rdquo;</p><p>Bess of Illinois WIC tried to explain the agency&rsquo;s rationale.</p><p>&ldquo;As a registered dietician, I am looking at the diet as a whole, which is what we do at WIC,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;Milk is one component of that and this is more than a calorie issue. This is about saturated fat.&rdquo;</p><p>Still, as many point out, <a href="http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/03/17/study-questions-fat-and-heart-disease-link/?_php=true&amp;_type=blogs&amp;_r=0">analyses</a> from Harvard and Cambridge University researchers now suggest that saturated fat is not to blame for heart disease. Instead, it&rsquo;s carbohydrates that appear to be the villain. In fact, new <a href="http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/videos/news/Low_Fat_090214-1.html">government</a> research suggests a high-fat, low-carb diet is much more effective for weight loss than a low-fat diet.</p><p>Last year, researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine looked at 10,700 children and<a href="http://news.virginia.edu/content/uva-study-children-drinking-low-fat-milk-gain-similar-amount-weight-those-drinking-whole"> found that those who drank skim and one percent milk </a>were much more likely to be overweight and obese than those who drank 2 percent or whole milk. In fact, children who started at normal weight and drank low-fat milks were 57 percent more likely to become overweight than those who drank higher fat milks.</p><p>Nina Tiecholz wrote <a href="http://www.thebigfatsurprise.com/">&ldquo;The Big Fat Surprise.&rdquo;</a> It charts the rise of obesity in the US as citizens followed government advice to cut fat, especially saturated fat, in their diet. She said she was heartbroken by the news on WIC.</p><p>&ldquo;To me it&rsquo;s devastating because without the fat in milk you cannot digest the fat soluble vitamins A and D,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;They are essential and without them you can&rsquo;t absorb the minerals in milk. So milk is much less nutritious when you take out the fat.&rdquo;</p><p>Ludwig notes that these low-fat milks lose flavor along with those calories.</p><p>&ldquo;And there&rsquo;s the tendency to replace those calories with sugar like chocolate milk and that trade off is not good for children&rsquo;s health,&rdquo; he says.</p><p>Indeed, today skim chocolate milk is the No. 1 beverage served in the federal lunch program. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;Milk that&rsquo;s high in sugar and low in fat is the worst possible kind of beverage you could be serving them,&rdquo; Teicholz says, noting the lower nutrition absorption and adding, &ldquo;Sugar triggers the release of insulin, which is the king of all hormones for making you fat.&rdquo;</p><p>USDA officials, however, disagree. They say the added sugar is worth it if it gets kids to drink the milk.</p><p>&ldquo;Studies have shown consistently over the country that if you take out that option [for chocolate milk] even though it&rsquo;s non-fat, the milk consumption goes down,&rdquo; says USDA undersecretary Concannon.</p><p>And while the American Heart Association doesn&rsquo;t support sugary school milk, it does support the the switch to low-fat white milk in WIC. Still, the heart association&rsquo;s Mark Peysakhovich says they&rsquo;re also open to considering any new data the move might bring. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to study the effects of low fat milk on this population,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;And that&rsquo;s part of what&rsquo;s so exciting about this move.&rdquo;</p><p>To find out if the USDA will also considered the new data, you won&#39;t have to wait long. New dietary guidelines are due out in 2015.</p><p><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ food and health reporter, and co-host of the Chewing The Fat podcast. Follow her at<a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng"> @monicaeng</a> or write to her at meng@wbez.org</em></p></p> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 11:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/nutrition-programs-ditch-whole-milk-110929 Rabbit hops back onto the American table http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/rabbit-hops-back-american-table-110834 <p><p>As Americans become more discriminating about the provenance, treatment and sustainability of the animals they eat, the market has brought them pastured pork, heritage chicken and grass-fed beef.</p><p>But one of the most sustainable meats of all may still prove too cute for many consumers.</p><p>It&rsquo;s rabbit--and Kankakee County farmer Kim Snyder has recently joined the ranks of the more than 27,000 American farmers who raise them (up from just 4,300 in 2002).</p><p>But unlike most rabbit farmers, Snyder (who also raises pastured Berkshire hogs and Belted Galloway cows) is raising these lagomorphs on free range.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve been training them to range outdoors and it&rsquo;s been fairly successful,&rdquo; said Snyder who owns Faith&rsquo;s Farm. &ldquo;I have 32 acres and I&rsquo;ve seen them range off my acreage but they still tend to home in on my pond because I am their only continuous water source.&rdquo;</p><p>Snyder&rsquo;s target breed is the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.livestockconservancy.org/index.php/heritage/internal/silver-fox">heritage Silver Fox</a> a rabbit on the critically endangered list, which is why she chose them. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;If people taste this meat, which I think is superior to hybrid animals, then farmers will raise it,&rdquo; she explained. &ldquo;So it&rsquo;s truly conservation through consumption. You can see some breeds go from critically endangered ... to threatened ... to not being on the list at all.&quot;</p><p>So what does it taste like? Snyder invited a bunch of Midwest chefs out to her farm to help process them, cook them and taste for themselves.</p><p>&ldquo;I would say the meat is milder [than standard rabbit meat which tastes like slightly gamey chicken meat] because it&rsquo;s not been raised on pellets,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;These rabbits eat hay and grass.&rdquo;</p><p>Letting rabbits roam around 32 acres and then trapping them when it&rsquo;s time to go to the butcher is not the most efficient way to produce meat. Some rabbits will inevitably be picked off by coyotes, minks and other predators. And others may avoid the traps. But Snyder--whom I&rsquo;ve known for five years and (full disclosure) now consider a friend--says she&rsquo;s committed to letting the animals lead normal lives for as long as possible.</p><p>As she prepares to start offering them to Midwest chefs, the farmer says she plans to charge about $10 a pound for her rabbits. And they&rsquo;ll arrive on a restaurant scene that&rsquo;s already hopping with rabbit dishes.</p><p>At Chicago&rsquo;s six-month-old <a href="http://www.osterialanghe.com/">Osteria Langhe</a>, in Logan Square, braised rabbit or &ldquo;coniglio&rdquo; has emerged as one of chef Cameron Grant&rsquo;s signature dishes. He says customers order about 100 servings of it a week.</p><p>&ldquo;They love it,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;We wrap it in pancetta and then slow cook it for about four hours and it just becomes incredibly moist. Then we sear it off to order and then cut it and put it on the plate with a sauce of sweet red and yellow peppers.&rdquo;</p><p>Grant lived and cooked in the Piedmont region of Italy, which is the inspiration for the menu at Langhe. There, he says &ldquo;they don&rsquo;t use chicken. So rabbit really is the chicken of Piemonte.&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rabbit-1.jpg" style="height: 250px; width: 250px; float: left;" title="Chefs learned how to process, skin and cook rabbits during a recent event at Faith’s Farm in Kankakee County. (WBEZ/Monica Eng)" />Rabbit has also leapt on to the menu at <a href="http://tabledonkeystick.com/">Table, Donkey and Stick</a> in Logan Square. There, chef Scott Manley offers rabbit liver mousseline with sweetbreads but also a popular whole deboned rabbit cooked sous vide and then quick roasted to order.</p><p>&ldquo;So it comes out and it&rsquo;s sort of like a rabbit steak almost,&rdquo; he says.</p><p>The meat shows up in three dishes at Mercat A La Planxa downtown and even barbecued at Frontier in West Town. And at Glasserie in Brooklyn, a $76 rabbit entree has become one of the hottest meals in New York.</p><p>As more consumers seek out sustainable meat this fast growing lagomorph--no, rabbits are not rodents--fills the bill quite nicely. In fact, according to the<a href="http://www.fao.org/docrep/t1690e/t1690e03.htm"> United Nation&rsquo;s food organization</a> you can produce more than four pounds of rabbit meat with the same amount of feed it takes to produce just one pound of beef. Additionally, rabbits can start reproducing at just 6 months old.</p><p>Chicago&rsquo;s<a href="http://publicanqualitymeats.com/"> Publican Quality Meats </a>already sells pastured Berkshire pork from Faith&rsquo;s Farm. But general manager Darin Latimer says he expects Snyder&rsquo;s pastured rabbit to join the selection soon.</p><p>&ldquo;I think our customers will be OK with it,&rdquo; says Latimer. &ldquo;But I think the mass market will be harder to crack--mostly because of the adorability problem.&rdquo;</p><p>Indeed, the adorability problem remains a hurdle--even for some who don&rsquo;t mind eating other animals. Whole Foods Market learned this last month when rabbit lovers protested the store&rsquo;s pilot program to introduce rabbit to its meat counters. They argued that rabbits are pets, not meat.</p><p>Ironically, before introducing rabbit to select stores, Whole Foods spent years developing better <a href="http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/department/article/rabbit">animal welfare standards </a>for farms that raised rabbits. But, for many in the US, the meat is still too closely connected with pets, the Easter Bunny and even Bugs Bunny whose cartoons--<a href="http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/82297211/">think the Hasenfeffer episode</a>-- didn&rsquo;t do much for the image of rabbit eaters.</p><p>Even if American rabbit consumption never reaches World War II levels (when rabbits were considered a patriotic meat animal to raise in homes) or even to European levels, Grant and others think acceptance will only continue to grow.</p><p>&ldquo;I think it will,&rdquo; he says, &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a great, versatile protein that offers intrigue and excitement.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of the Chewing The Fat podcast. Follow her at</em><a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng"> <em>@monicaeng</em></a> <em>or write to her at meng@wbez.org</em></p></p> Tue, 23 Sep 2014 09:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/rabbit-hops-back-american-table-110834 Do new FDA actions endanger your favorite cheese? http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/do-new-fda-actions-endanger-your-favorite-cheese-110802 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/rush-creek.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago cheese lovers looking for some traditional French cheeses may be out of luck this year.</p><p>&ldquo;There are certain cheeses we simply aren&#39;t seeing at all at the moment, like Morbier,&rdquo; says Greg O&rsquo;Neil co-owner of Pastoral Cheese Bread &amp; Wine in Lakeview and the Loop. &ldquo;This is unfortunate, because it is a classic and a mover.&rdquo;</p><p>Newly enforced federal guidelines have <a href="http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/CMS_IA/importalert_9.html">stopped many types of imported </a>raw milk cheeses--including Morbier and Roquefort-- at the border in the last six months due to levels of non-toxigenic E. coli.</p><p>So what&rsquo;s wrong with non-toxigenic E. coli?</p><p>WBEZ asked the Food and Drug Administration and a representative sent this:</p><p>&ldquo;While these bacteria don&rsquo;t cause illness, their presence suggests that the cheese was produced in unsanitary conditions.&rdquo;</p><p>This statement runs contrary to 2009 draft guidance by the FDA stating:</p><p>&ldquo;Because of the close association of raw milk with the animal environment, low levels of <em>Escherichia coli </em>may be present in raw milk or products made from raw milk, even when properly produced using GMPs. However, the presence of <em>Escherichia coli </em>in a cheese and cheese product made from raw milk at a level greater than 100 MPN/g (Most Probable Number per gram) indicates insanitary conditions&hellip;&rdquo;</p><p>And so if, according to this 2009 FDA draft, &nbsp;non toxigenic E. coli numbers under 100 MPN can occur in raw milk cheeses under GMP (good manufacturing practices), why did the FDA move in 2010 to lower that number by 90 percent for all dairy? &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>That&rsquo;s a question the American Cheese Society posed to the FDA last week.</p><p>&ldquo;We want to know if there is research data, linkages to foodborne illnesses or a public health risk,&rdquo; said ACS executive director Nora Weiser. &ldquo;Because it&rsquo;s important for us to know if that exists and if that is why they have lowered this standard.&rdquo;</p><p>But, as of press time, the agency said it was still working on an explanation for its 2010 guideline.</p><p>The American Cheese Society is not the only entity cheesed off by the recent enforcement of the guidelines. Chicagoist writer Erika Kubick detailed her concern <a href="http://chicagoist.com/2014/09/11/the_war_on_raw_cheese_continues.php">here.</a>&nbsp;And the Cheese Importers Association of America is gearing up to confront the FDA soon.</p><p>&ldquo;The CIAA would like to reinforce our concern that the FDA is taking regulatory action without recognizing the historic safety of imported cheeses like Roquefort,&quot; the organization said in a statement. &quot;We completely agree that food safety is at the forefront of this decision. However, as was have done with the <a href="http://www.fda.gov/Food/NewsEvents/ConstituentUpdates/ucm400808.htm">wood board aging issue</a>, the FDA is promoting regulation without taking all factors into consideration. This action was discussed at the recent CIAA board meeting, and our concerns will be communicated to the FDA shortly.&rdquo;</p><p>If the presence of non-toxigenic E. coli in raw milk cheese posed a threat to American health, certainly the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would know about it, right? Well, not really.</p><p>The CDC had nothing on its website about the bacteria so WBEZ contacted CDC press officer Christine Pearson. She said she would try to get some information on non-toxigenic E. coli but didn&rsquo;t have an easy time of it.</p><p>She wrote back saying: &ldquo;I heard back from one of my experts that nontoxigenic is not a term that we use.&rdquo; Follow up questions last Friday remained unanswered.</p><p>This lack of clarity and explanation isn&rsquo;t just affecting cheese imports. It also prompted award-winning Uplands Wisconsin cheesemaker Andy Hatch to skip making his famous Rush Creek Reserve raw milk cheese this fall.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m intimidated by the lack of consensus or clarity,&rdquo; Hatch told WBEZ&rsquo;s Chewing the Fat food podcast. &ldquo;I think most cheesemakers are saying the same thing. We&rsquo;re not exactly sure how they&rsquo;re approaching these cheeses...And it&rsquo;s also so perishable so that if anything should hold up shipment, the window for sale is really tight, and so one little hiccup and you&rsquo;ve spoiled months of work.&rdquo;</p><p>International cheesemakers whose products have been &ldquo;Red Listed&rdquo; by the non-toxigenic E. coli guidelines have already been hurt by this hiccup. The questions remains, why?</p><p>Consumers who want to comment on the FDA rules can still do so <a href="http://http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FDA-2009-D-0466-0008.">here</a>.</p><p><em>WBEZ will stay on this story and update it when the FDA responds to the American Cheese Society on the problems posed by exceeding 10 MPN per gram of non-toxigenic E. coli in raw milk cheese.</em></p><p><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of the Chewing The Fat podcast. Follow her at</em><a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng"> <em>@monicaeng</em></a> <em>or write to her at meng@wbez.org</em></p></p> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 15:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/do-new-fda-actions-endanger-your-favorite-cheese-110802