WBEZ | holidays http://www.wbez.org/tags/holidays Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The rise of Casimir Pulaski Day http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/rise-casimir-pulaski-day-111624 <p><p>Casimir Pulaski Day. If you grew up in Illinois in the 1980s or 1990s (or, if you raised a kid at the time), you probably remember a school and government holiday &mdash; the first Monday in March &mdash; that most of the rest of the country does not observe.</p><p>Nic Levy, our question asker, remembers coming to Oak Park in fifth grade and being surprised. &ldquo;There was this holiday I saw on the calendar,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;I couldn&rsquo;t pronounce it. I asked my parents. They also didn&rsquo;t know because they were from New England.&rdquo;</p><p>Nic remembers that one of his history teachers added a short aside about Pulaski during his class&rsquo;s unit on the Revolutionary War, so he grew up understanding that Pulaski was a hero of that war and that he was from Poland. But all that info was about the hero. For help with the holiday, he sent us this question:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>How did Casimir Pulaski Day become a public holiday in Illinois?</em></p><p>We let Nic, a history buff, take a crack at an answer. He guessed that Casimir Pulaski Day came about as an expression of Polish-American pride, maybe in the 1970s or 1980s.</p><p>&ldquo;After the &lsquo;60s, there was this climate in the U.S., not just of ethnic tolerance, but of celebration of different cultures in cities across America,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;I feel like that kind of started in the &lsquo;70s.&rdquo;</p><p>Nic&rsquo;s on the right track, but the details make the story worth telling. Just consider what was working <em>against</em> the state holiday: Casimir died more than two hundred years ago, he never set foot in Illinois, the community that adored him arrived in Chicago nearly a century after he died, and, it turns out, he&rsquo;s not even the most famous Polish-American war hero.</p><p>The story behind this most &ldquo;Illinois&rdquo; of holidays involves Casimir, of course, but it&rsquo;s more of a story about a strong community that was willing to spend political capital to honor him.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Casimir Pulaski: Polish Patriot, American Volunteer</span></p><p>Let&rsquo;s start with Count Casimir Pulaski the man. He grew up in the struggle of Polish patriots against the neighboring powers that sought to annex or assert control over what was at the time the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. By the time he was 22, he was fighting against the new Polish King Stanislaw II, who was seen by many as a puppet of the Russians. Pulaski became an important cavalry officer in a series of wars. But by 1775, the conflict had gone badly for the Polish patriots, and he was exiled to France. There he met the Marquis de Lafayette and Benjamin Franklin, who recruited him to come to America, to fight in the Revolutionary War.</p><p>Columbia College historian Dominic Pacyga says Pulaski considered the American Colonists&#39; fight for independence from Great Britain as similar to Poland&rsquo;s own struggle for independence.</p><p>&ldquo;There was this revolutionary spirit, the Enlightenment was going on, soon there was going to be the French Revolution,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;So a lot of people were wrapped up in this revolutionary fervor that was going through the West at this time, and they ended up in the United States.&rdquo;<a name="painting"></a></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="363" mozallowfullscreen="" scrolling="no" src="//www.thinglink.com/card/627225578885349377" type="text/html" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="620"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size:11px;"><strong>Above: Click on the painting&#39;s hotspots to hear about the artist&#39;s motifs. </strong>Analysis comes from experts at The Polish Museum of America. Painting:&nbsp;<em>Brigadier General Kazimierz Pulaski mortally wounded at the battle of Savannah on the 9th of October 1779</em>&nbsp;by Stanislaw Batowski Kaczor.&nbsp;</span></p><p>George Washington and other Colonial leaders were skeptical of these European idealists because not all of them lived up to their billing as great soldiers. But Ben Franklin helped Pulaski by writing a letter of recommendation to George Washington, describing the Pole as &ldquo;&hellip; an officer famous throughout Europe for his bravery and conduct in defense of the liberties of his country.&rdquo; Although the Continental Congress wouldn&rsquo;t approve a commission, Washington allowed Pulaski to enlist informally. Casimir Pulaski then proved himself at the <a href="http://www.ushistory.org/brandywine/thestory.htm" target="_blank">Battles of Brandywine</a> and <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Germantown" target="_blank">Germantown</a>, and George Washington named him a Brigadier General and the first Commander of the American Cavalry.</p><p>At first, American soldiers balked at the idea of fighting under a &ldquo;foreign&rdquo; officer. So, in March of 1778, Congress organized the Pulaski Legion, which was made up of mostly &ldquo;foreign&rdquo; soldiers &mdash; Colonists and volunteers from France, Germany, and Poland. Pulaski&rsquo;s Legion turned the tide at the skirmish at Egg Harbor, New York. In May, they drove the British out of Charleston, South Carolina.</p><p>But just a few months later, Pulaski died from a mortal wound he received in Savannah, Georgia. In the Early Republic, Pulaski was remembered as a Revolutionary hero, alongside his friend, the Marquis de Lafayette. Several new towns and counties were named &ldquo;Pulaski&rdquo; in his memory.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Pulaski&rsquo;s backers in the Polish-American community</span></p><p>Pulaski remained a great hero in his homeland as well, a sentiment that wasn&rsquo;t forgotten when Poles began arriving in the United States. If Pulaski hadn&rsquo;t had a community that respected his achievements, who knows if there would have been Casimir holiday.</p><p>By 1800, the independent Polish state had been divided between Russia, Austria, and Prussia. Poles began immigrating to Chicago in the 1860s as economic refugees from lands where they were ethnic minorities and often disenfranchised.</p><p>White Anglo-Saxon Protestants saw themselves as the &ldquo;real&rdquo; Americans, and they did not always welcome Poles with open arms.</p><p>&ldquo;They are from the other Europe. They have the names nobody can pronounce, they&rsquo;re not Protestants. There&rsquo;s a good deal of anti-Polish prejudice at the time,&rdquo; Pacyga says. Because of this, he says, Polish Americans used Casimir Pulaski &mdash; alongside the other Polish revolutionary hero, Tadeusz Kosciuskzko &mdash; as a symbol that Poles had contributed to the American Republic from the very beginning.</p><p>As early as the 1930s, Polish Americans in Chicago lobbied for public recognition of Casimir Pulaski. Their first major victory was a declaration, in 1933, that the former <a href="http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/1427.html" target="_blank">&ldquo;Crawford Road&rdquo; in Chicago would now be &ldquo;Pulaski Road.&rdquo;</a> According to Dominic Pacyga, many of the merchants and the shopkeepers in the area were not happy about <a name="wherescasimir"></a>the new name. &ldquo;They have to change letterheads, they have to change addresses, they have to mail out letters saying they&rsquo;re no longer on Crawford Road.&rdquo; For more than a decade, the issue remained contentious.</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/where%27s%20casimir%20topper.png" style="height: 143px; width: 620px;" title="" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="500px" src="https://a.tiles.mapbox.com/v4/curiouscity.l9pnj16d/attribution,zoompan,zoomwheel,geocoder,share.html?access_token=pk.eyJ1IjoiY3VyaW91c2NpdHkiLCJhIjoibGM3MUJZdyJ9.8oAw072QHl4POJ3fRQAItQ" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size:11px;"><strong>Above: Local historian Dan Pogorzelski says there&#39;s no statue of Casimir Pulaski in Chicago</strong>, but there are still places to find the Polish war hero around the city. Here are a few of Pogorzelski&#39;s suggestions. Anything missing? If you&#39;ve spotted Casimir somewhere else, write us at curiouscity@wbez.org and we&rsquo;ll add it to the map.</span></p><p>In 1944 a streetcar conductor got into a fight with a Polish-Chicagoan when he referred to the Pulaski Road stop as &ldquo;Crawford Road.&rdquo; But in the end, Pulaski Road stuck, due to support from the Democratic political machine. Pacyga says: &ldquo;In the Democratic Party, the Poles [were] an important faction, and they were able to pull it off.&rdquo;</p><p>Much of Chicago&rsquo;s Polish-American history, including the importance of Pulaski, is preserved at the Polish Museum of America. The museum, which occupies much of the headquarters of the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America, sits on Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago, near the traditional &ldquo;Polish downtown.&rdquo;</p><p>Malgorzata Kot, the museum&rsquo;s managing director, says Polish Americans relate to Pulaski because he was a soldier. He fought for freedom and independence in Poland and America, and he had to fight for acceptance when he came to America. She says Polish Americans relate to those struggles, and see them as at the center of their history. &ldquo;Kazimierz [Casimir] Pulaski is a symbol of a Pole who was important in Poland, who risked it all to come here and fight for your freedom and ours.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Casimir&rsquo;s day arrives </span></p><p>The Polish-American community that remembered Casimir so fondly did everything it could to get the political system to recognize him. The persistance paid off.</p><p>In the 1970s, the Polish American Congress in Chicago took up the cause of a statewide Casimir Pulaski holiday. In 1977, they succeeded in getting a law passed designating the first Monday in March &ldquo;Casimir Pulaski Day.&rdquo; This was only a commemorative day, meaning Illinois schools, public offices and banks stayed open.</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/first%20pulaski%20day%20maybe.jpg" title="Former Illinois Gov. Dan Walker signs the Pulaski Day bill September 9, 1973 at the Polish Museum of America in Chicago. First a commemorative holiday, Pulaski Day became an official public holiday in 1985. (Photo courtesy Polish Museum of America)" /></div><p>The lobbying efforts simmered for years, and gathered momentum again in 1985 when State Senator Leroy Lemke <a href="http://www.luminpdf.com/files/14235190/ST052185%20CASIMIR%20PULASKI%20FLOOR%20DEBATE.pdf" target="_blank">introduced a bill in the Illinois Senate</a> to make Casimir Pulaski Day a full public holiday. It would give public schools and some government offices a day off, at the governor&rsquo;s discretion.</p><p>Speaking in support, Senator Thaddeus Lechowicz cast the law as part and parcel of the ethnic pride movements increasingly common in American cities. &ldquo;Every ethnic group, every racial group has a person or persons they that they see have contributed to an extra degree in making this country great. ... Casimir Pulaski fills that need for Polish Americans,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Dominic Pacyga says the timing suggests the bill got traction due to the recent passage, in 1983, of a national holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., the slain civil rights activist. Lawmakers knew Martin Luther King Day would go into effect the next year, in 1986. Pacyga says the &ldquo;white ethnic&rdquo; community, including Poles, Jews, Italians, Greeks, Irish, wanted something similar. &ldquo;There was a feeling the white ethnic community should also have a day, and in Illinois, it made sense to make it Pulaski Day, because the Polish community is so large in Chicago.&rdquo;</p><p>Retired State Senator Calvin Schuneman still remembers how the debate played in 1985. At the time, <a href="http://www.luminpdf.com/files/14235190/ST052185%20CASIMIR%20PULASKI%20FLOOR%20DEBATE.pdf" target="_blank">he raised concerns about the holiday</a>, and thirty years later, he has the same concerns.</p><p>&ldquo;If it&rsquo;s going to be a state holiday where government offices are going to be closed and schools are going to be dismissed, I think we have enough of those holidays.&rdquo; For Schuneman, who represented portions of western Illinois, this was a matter of Chicago politicians pushing something that didn&rsquo;t make sense for the rest of the state.</p><p>&ldquo;It was good politics for them,&rdquo; he says, &ldquo;but there certainly was no demand for recognizing Casimir Pulaski in my district.&rdquo;</p><p>The law did pass, though, and Governor Jim Thompson fulfilled the terms of the bill and declared a public school holiday across the state. Some municipal offices chose to close in honor of Casimir Pulaski, as did some banks. That freed many people up to visit the Polish Museum of America on Pulaski Day.</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/rahm%20pulaski%20day.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks at the Polish Museum of America on Casimir Pulaski Day in 2014. In 2012, negotiations between Emanuel and the Chicago Teacher’s Union resulted in Chicago Public Schools dropping Pulaski Day as a day off from school. (Photo courtesy Polish Museum of America)" /></div><p>Every year on Pulaski Day, the president of the Polish Roman Catholic Union, currently Joseph Drobot Jr., presides over a formal ceremony honoring Casimir Pulaski. The Great Hall at the museum can hold up to 500 people, and he says it&rsquo;s usually full during the ceremony. There&rsquo;s an honor guard in bright red and blue eighteenth century cavalry uniforms. The event is open to the public and there&rsquo;s free Polish food. According to Drobot, &ldquo;This being an election year, there will be many politicians. It&rsquo;s an opportunity to be seen.&rdquo;</p><p>The ceremony is always held in front of the centerpiece of the Museum&rsquo;s Great Hall: a fifteen- foot-wide painting of Casimir Pulaski, painted by Stanislaw Batowski. It depicts Pulaski&rsquo;s mortal wounding at Savannah.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Whittling away Casimir Pulaski Day</span></p><p>While memory of Casimir Pulaski is alive and well at the Polish Museum of America, his holiday has been chipped away in the state&rsquo;s public schools.</p><p>In 1995 the legislature made Casimir Pulaski Day optional. Individual school districts in Illinois could apply for a waiver to opt out. Downstate districts were the first to seek waivers.</p><p>By 2009, 74 percent of the districts chose to keep school open on Pulaski Day. And in 2012, Chicago Public Schools dropped Pulaski Day during negotiations between Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Teacher&rsquo;s Union.</p><p>When this happened, many Polish Americans felt disrespected, and even hurt. One <a href="http://blogs.chicagotribune.com/news_columnists_ezorn/2012/03/columbus.html" target="_blank">commenter on a blog post wrote</a>: &ldquo;So to sum it up, it took over 200 years for America to acknowledge the man and only in Illinois because of Chicago&#39;s large Polish population and a few decades later we are getting rid of the holiday.&rdquo;</p><p>But historian Dominic Pacyga says, while it might be a shame to lose the holiday, it&rsquo;s also part of what always happens with ethnic immigrant culture in America.</p><p>&ldquo;Many Polish Americans have assimilated. Seventy-five to 80 percent live in suburbs instead of Chicago,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;When you all live in Chicago, you had a lot of clout, when you live in 100 to 200 municipalities, your clout is fragmented. So the lesson is: Stay in Chicago. Come on back home, and we&rsquo;ll get Pulaski Day back.&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/question%20asker_0.jpg" style="height: 267px; width: 200px; float: left;" title="(Photo courtesy Nic Levy)" /><span style="font-size:22px;">Nic Levy, Curious Citizen</span></p><p>Nic Levy, who asked Curious City to investigate Casimir Pulaski Day, agrees with Pacyga&rsquo;s take that the loss of the holiday is just part of how history works. Nic does feel that having memories of Pulaski Day is something that will define his generation in the decades to come. He enjoys thinking about how history affects geography, as in how the contributions of a Polish nobleman in the 18th century, could change the name of a Chicago road in the twentieth.</p><p>He&rsquo;s studying geography now, at McGill University in Montreal. He says his interest in geography and history began as a teenager in Chicago, right when he started driving. He used maps to plan routes, and was fascinated by the names of the streets, Chicago&rsquo;s orderly grid plan, and the way the grid intersected with the geography of the river, canals, and the lake.</p><p><em>Jesse Dukes is Curious City&rsquo;s audio producer.</em></p><p><em>Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of the managing director of the Polish Museum of America. The correct spelling is&nbsp;Malgorzata Kot.</em></p></p> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 16:22:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/rise-casimir-pulaski-day-111624 Afternoon Shift: Live from Christkindlmarket and a Christmas sing-along http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2013-12-20/afternoon-shift-live-christkindlmarket-and-christmas-sing-along <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/WBEZ Christmas.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Join the Afternoon Shift live from the Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza. Eric Zorn and Neil Steinberg give their predictions for the new year. We look at Chicagoan&#39;s true pizza preference and we have a sing-along with several local performers.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/afternoon-shift-live-from-christkindlmarket-and-a/embed" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/afternoon-shift-live-from-christkindlmarket-and-a.js"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/afternoon-shift-live-from-christkindlmarket-and-a" target="_blank">View the story "Afternoon Shift: Live from Christkindlmarket and a Christmas sing-along" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Fri, 20 Dec 2013 16:13:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2013-12-20/afternoon-shift-live-christkindlmarket-and-christmas-sing-along Non-profit sees greater need for food assistance http://www.wbez.org/news/non-profit-sees-greater-need-food-assistance-109276 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Screen Shot 2013-11-29 at 9.53.20 AM.png" alt="" /><p><p>It&rsquo;s been a holiday season of breaking records at <a href="http://www.ajustharvest.org/">A Just Harvest</a>, a Rogers Park nonprofit that feeds the hungry.</p><p>The organization serves hot dinner daily to anyone who shows up, but during the run-up to Thanksgiving and Christmas it also distributes &ldquo;holiday kits,&rdquo; uncooked turkeys and traditional fixings, to families that want to prepare the foods at home.</p><p>&ldquo;Saturday we gave away turkeys and kits, and we had folks lined up for two blocks,&rdquo; said Rev. Marylin Pagan-Banks, executive director of A Just Harvest. &ldquo;People lining up and standing in the cold and bearing the weather in order to provide for their families.&rdquo;</p><p>Pagan-Banks said the organization had never seen that before, and that by Thanksgiving week it had already distributed 305 of the kits, with four weeks to go until Christmas.</p><p>Last year, A Just Harvest gave away 380 kits for the two holidays together &mdash;a number that it seems certain to beat this year.</p><p>In part, Pagan-Banks blames <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/economy/illinois-residents-lose-220-million-dollars-snap-benefits-109035">cuts that kicked in this month </a>to the federal Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP, also known as the food stamp program.</p><p>Congress declined to renew an increase in funding to the program that had gone into effect in 2009 as part of the Recovery Act. For a family of four, this amounts to $36 less per month of food assistance.</p><p>&ldquo;Folks already struggle towards the end of the month, because the allotment wasn&rsquo;t enough to start with,&rdquo; said Pagan-Banks. &ldquo;And so it&rsquo;s the end of the month, and it&rsquo;s a holiday where traditionally there are different types of food that are eaten, they cost more, turkeys are not cheap, and there&rsquo;s just no way to make ends meet.&rdquo;</p><p><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> Fri, 29 Nov 2013 08:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/non-profit-sees-greater-need-food-assistance-109276 Answers to the questions Omaha Steaks Conversation Cards™ sent to me with my annual holiday steaks http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-12/answers-questions-omaha-steaks-conversation-cards%E2%84%A2-sent-me-my-annual <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/5422974311_c051df28c6.jpg" style="float: left; height: 400px; width: 300px;" title="(Flickr/gabrielsaldana)" /><strong><span id="internal-source-marker_0.9598074197495636">If the person sitting across from you was a food, what food would he/she be?&nbsp;</span></strong><br />A man made of medium-done steak, wearing a suit made of bacon, a shirt of twice-baked potatoes and hair of mustard. A bit of Lawry&rsquo;s salt would dust his shoulders (because he has steak-man dandruff).<br /><br /><strong>If you could be 16 again, would you?</strong><br />Can I be 16 but with the personality and knowledge I have now? Because if so, yes. But if not, no thanks. Also, it depends on the steak situation. Could I have the metabolism I had when I was 16, or the steak appreciation I possess now?<br /><br /><strong>Favorite childhood game?</strong><br />Hide the steak. (I always won.)<br /><br /><strong>How did you get even with your siblings?</strong><br />Took their steak.<br /><br /><strong>Get it done now or put it off as long as possible?</strong><br />Get it done now if by &ldquo;it&rdquo; you mean &ldquo;eat the steak.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>If you inherited a house known to be haunted, what would you do with it?</strong><br />How is this steak-related, exactly? I would probably sell it, for steak money.<br /><br /><strong>Experiment or be experimented on?</strong><br />I&rsquo;d like to experiment on my stomach and see how it reacts to some savory steaks, if you know what I mean.<br /><br /><strong>What is the dumbest thing you have ever done?</strong><br />Definitely not this. Perhaps it was when I time traveled back to when I was 16, lived in a haunted house and &ldquo;experimented&rdquo; on my brother. But I think it was the time I left some steak behind once and didn&rsquo;t take it home for lunch.</p></p> Thu, 06 Dec 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-12/answers-questions-omaha-steaks-conversation-cards%E2%84%A2-sent-me-my-annual Chicago's first Mother's Day http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-05/chicagos-first-mothers-day-98731 <p><p>This Sunday is Mother’s Day. Chicago first celebrated the holiday 103 years ago Wednesday–May 9, 1909.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/05-09--Anna%20Jarvis.jpg" style="height: 268px; width: 200px; float: left;" title="Anna Marie Jarvis (Library of Congress)"></div><p>The American version of Mother’s Day was started by Anna Marie Jarvis, after the death of her own mother in 1905. To honor all mothers, Jarvis asked people to wear white carnations on the second Sunday in May. The first observances were held in Grafton, West Virginia, where her late mother had lived.</p><p>By 1908 Mother’s Day was being celebrated in Philadelphia, San Francisco and a few other places. Meanwhile, Jarvis worked to spread the holiday. She sent pamphlets to women’s clubs in various cities, asking for help.</p><p>In Chicago, the Mother’s Day cause was taken up by Sarah Warrell. On May 4, 1909, the <em>Tribune</em> ran a short interview in which she described the holiday.</p><p>Warrell called on ministers, teachers, and charitable institutions to get out the word. Wearing the white carnation was the first step. Then people should use the holiday for positive action, to help the aged, the sick, and the needy. “If everyone in the city would volunteer to do what he could to observe the spirit of Mother’s Day, much happiness would result,” Warrell said.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/05-09--lange%20ad.jpg" style="float: right; height: 158px; width: 200px;" title="1912 newspaper ad (Chicago Daily News)"></div></div><p>May 9th came. Men, women and children were seen sporting the white carnation. Some groups, like the YMCA and the Grand Army of the Republic, had enlisted their entire membership. Pastors mentioned Mother’s Day in sermons, and in Oak Park, the First Presbyterian Church was filled with the symbolic flower. Carnations were also distributed at various hospitals and orphanages.</p><p>With less than a week’s publicity, the first Chicago Mother’s Day was a great success. During the next few years, the local movement grew. In 1910 Governor Deneen declared Mother’s Day a state holiday. Not to be outdone by a Republican, Chicago’s Mayor Harrison issued his own proclamation in 1911.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/05-09--future%20blogger.jpg" style="float: left; height: 332px; width: 300px;" title="(Author's collection)"></div><p>The holiday was a likely time to remind Chicagoans of the problems faced by unmarried mothers–”illegal mothers,” as they were then called. On Mother’s Day 1911, the St. Margaret Relief Society held a special meeting at the La Salle Hotel. Single moms told their stories to an audience of 200 local club women, asking for help to maintain the “maternity home for dependent women.”</p><p>Chicago’s 1912 Mother’s Day was the biggest one yet. The holiday had become so popular that local florists ran out of carnations. The <em>Tribune </em>published a special section in which prominent Chicagoans wrote about their mothers. There was some talk about changing this first Sunday in May to a Parents’ Day–or maybe even having a separate Father’s Day.</p><p>Finally, in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother’s Day a national holiday. We’ve been celebrating it ever since.</p></p> Tue, 08 May 2012 11:27:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-05/chicagos-first-mothers-day-98731 The world's most practical holiday gift-giving guide http://www.wbez.org/blog/claire-zulkey/2011-12-22/worlds-most-practical-holiday-gift-giving-guide-95102 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-December/2011-12-22/bAlpacaArgyleMensSocks.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><span id="internal-source-marker_0.9501087936323879" style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">For him:</span><br> <br> <img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-22/bAlpacaArgyleMensSocks.jpg" style="width: 262px; height: 400px; " title=""><br> <br> <img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-22/hamburger-6474.jpg" title="" height="400" width="400"><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">For her:</span><br> <br> <img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-22/womens_pink_sports_socks.jpg" title="" height="300" width="300"></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-22/t_588_01.jpg" title="" height="380" width="380"><br> <br class="kix-line-break"> <strong><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">For the kids:</span></strong><br> <br> <img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-22/kids-socks-hs10-485.jpg" title="" height="360" width="360"></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-22/Baskin-Robbins-Pint-with-sh.jpg" title="" height="293" width="275"><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">For baby:</span><br> <br> <img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-22/triple-roll-socks-for-baby-tangelo.jpg" title="" height="270" width="202"><br> <br> <img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-22/boob-show.jpg" title="" height="318" width="296"><br> <br class="kix-line-break"> <strong><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">For me:</span></strong><br> <br> <img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-22/colored tights.jpg" title="" height="250" width="221"></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-22/img_9169-3.jpg" title="" height="336" width="448"><br> <br> <strong><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">For anybody else:</span></strong><br> <br> <img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-22/White-noshow-boyslarge-gildan-72215.jpg" title="" height="351" width="285"></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-22/twenty-20-dollar-bill.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 219px; " title=""></p></p> Thu, 22 Dec 2011 15:56:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/claire-zulkey/2011-12-22/worlds-most-practical-holiday-gift-giving-guide-95102 Holiday competition at Sofitel takes the cake http://www.wbez.org/blog/louisa-chu/2011-12-15/holiday-competition-sofitel-takes-cake-94941 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-December/2011-12-16/cake.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-15/DSC_0768.jpg" title="" height="399" width="600"></p><p>Judging a cake competition is not as <a href="http://chicago.grubstreet.com/2011/12/check_out_the_cakes_from_cdas.html#photo=7x00013">easy</a> as it sounds. Don't get me wrong: it's one of the best jobs in the world—that and being a judge at <a href="http://baconfestchicago.com/2011goldenrashers">Baconfest</a>. But when you know how much work goes into a presentation piece, it's not just a cake walk.</p><p>Café des Architectes recently hosted a bûche de Noël—aka yule log—<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/louisa-chu/2011-11-28/week-food-events-and-limited-edition-eats-and-drinks-94364">competition</a> at the Sofitel and they invited me to judge. The event was called Holiday Rock &amp; Roll and benefitted <a href="http://www.strength.org/chicago/">Share Our Strength</a>—and I hope it will become an annual event. Fellow judges included CdA's Exec Pastry Chef Patrick Fahy; La Patisserie P Chef/Owner Peter Yuen; Lovely Bakeshop Chef/Owner Bob Hartwig; Time Out Chicago Features Editor Laura Baginski; my friend, Grub Street Chicago Editor Michael Gebert.</p><p>But everyone judged, really. Attendees tasted all the cakes and voted as the people's choice winner the bûche you see above, by Spiaggia Pastry Chef Celeste Campise.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-15/DSC_0770.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 200px;" title=""><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-15/DSC_0778.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 200px;" title=""></p><p>The slice I tasted is above left. It looks like milk chocolate, but the cake was actually a <a href="http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2009/06/caramelized-white-chocolate/">caramelized white chocolate</a>, with orange zest, and the cake soaked with Luxardo Amaretto, with a layer of mocha Italian buttercream. It was all rolled in <a href="http://www.cacao-barry.com/uken/4245">Cara Crakine</a>, crunchy cereal bits coated with caramel milk chocolate by Cacao Barry, one of the sponsors. The "bark" was shards tempered chocolate with gold dust, and pulled sugar "flames" tipped with gold leaf that flickered gently in the air.</p><p>"It was literally supposed to be a log on the fire," said Campise.</p><p>She's serving a version of it at Spiaggia for the next month or two, but with orange sponge cake, soaked in the Luxardo Amaretto, with homemade almond butter folded into chocolate with ground almonds for the crunch layer, Illy espresso Italian buttercream, coated in roasted white chocolate ganache, and orange curd.</p><p>"It's very Italian Christmas-y flavors," she said.</p><p>I asked if someone could special order her winning bûche. "I'll have to get back to you on that," she said, "It's pretty labor intensive. Plus you have to store it properly, with that pulled sugar."</p><p>How long did it take her to make the cake? "I made it and remade it eight to 10 times," she said, "Ten to 11 hours per day, for three or four days, that's all I did."</p><p>Did you know most presentation pieces are not eaten and sometimes inedible?</p><p>Hers was. "Oh yeah, it was edible," said Campise, "My mom actually took it to work."</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-15/DSC_0777.jpg" title="" height="399" width="600"></p><p>The judges' winner was Greg Mosko of North Pond, above. His was not only the cake, but a whole scene. It was a chocolate jelly roll cake, with three different kinds of mousse: 80% dark chocolate, peppermint, and salted caramel; coated with dark chocolate ganache, then sprayed with chocolate and cocoa butter for a velvet effect. There were even a few dew drops of agar.</p><p>And then there was the scene.</p><p>"There were chocolate crumbles, meringue mushrooms, white chocolate and cocoa butter spray for a snow effect," said Mosko, "More dark chocolate crumbles for a dirt effect, and toasted coconut tinted green for a moss effect. The rocks on the display were caramelized macadamia nuts dipped in tempered chocolate, dusted in cocoa powder or 10X [superfine powdered sugar]. The little macaron snails were gingerbread macarons with gingerbread buttercream filling, bodies made out of marzipan. There were chocolate marzipan leaves and a couple of little mice made from marzipan, sprayed with dark chocolate for a furry effect."</p><p>"There was also a little web of caramelized sugar with a tiny little chocolate marzipan spider," he said, "but it was on the back and really just for the judges to see."</p><p>Mosko is serving the gingerbread macarons only just for the rest of this month with his ice cream platter. The flavors? "Roasted Bosc pear, brown butter pecan, and Earl Grey, served with fried sage, pear cider reduction, and cinnamon pudding."</p><p>His bûche? "It was a one time thing only," he said, "I'm really just a production team of one. I was making little pieces starting Sunday, and finished Thursday morning, day of the competition."</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-15/DSC_0811.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 200px;" title=""><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-15/DSC_0793.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 200px;" title=""></p><p>Fahy hosted and presented a cake, but did not compete. His was a vanilla roulade with salted, caramelized hazelnuts, dark chocolate mousse, finished with brown sugar butterscotch, chocolate branches—all sprayed velvety white with cocoa butter—and pulled sugar ribbons.</p><p>He'll be serving slices of an eggnog bûche on Christmas Eve and Day only, with poached cranberries, nutmeg, bittersweet chocolate, and eggnog ice cream</p><p>"It will be a much thicker slice," he said, "If I'm sitting down for dessert, I want a good hefty portion."</p><p>What was the inspiration for his striking design?</p><p>"I don't have a fireplace now but at my mother's in Wisconsin, she does," he said, "The inspiration was a stack of snow-covered logs. I wanted it to look like a little pile of firewood, but with a a clean, nice, modern look."</p><p>"She's also got a pine tree and that's where the pine cone thing comes from."</p><p>The pine cone thing being his new ice cream flavor on the menu, served with warm cider beignets, apple chips, and cider caramel.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-15/DSC_0763.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 200px;" title=""><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-15/DSC_0766.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 200px;" title=""></p><p>The wildest design was created by Michelle and Vinny Garcia, punk rock chef/owners of Bleeding Heart Bakery.</p><p>The exterior was covered with snaky coils of fondant, and the cake, smoked Earl Grey with candied plum and whipped cream filling, finished with ganache.</p><p>It's available by special order but at the bakeries they have traditional yule log cakes in chocolate, hazelnut, and peppermint.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-15/DSC_0756.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 200px;" title=""><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-15/DSC_0755.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 200px;" title=""></p><p>Amanda Rockman of The Bristol did a play on words with a Black Forest Cake. You know, yule log, forest, Black Forest Cake.</p><p>"I brandied my own cherries from <a href="http://seedlingfruit.com/index.html">Seedling</a> for two-and-a-half weeks," she said, "and it was a chocolate sponge with vanilla simple syrup, milk chocolate praline <a href="http://www.cacao-barry.com/uken/173">feuilletine</a>, brandied cherry gelée, white chocolate mousse, dark chocolate glaze, gold leaf, chocolate plaquettes, and gilded maraschino cherries."</p><p>Rockman is not serving it at the restaurant. " But if someone wanted to special order I'm willing to have a conversation," she said, "Who am I to say they can't have it?"</p><p>"But they'd have to order it this weekend."</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-15/DSC_0780.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 200px;" title=""><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-15/DSC_0782.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 200px;" title=""></p><p>You know how in cake competition shows they always make it seem like someone's going to drop their cake? Yes, it happened, to Elissa Narow of Vie and Perennial Virant.</p><p>But first, her bûche: chocolate sponge cake, dark chocolate mousse, Venuzuelan chocolate, the rare <a href="http://www.cacao-barry.com/uken/76">Plantation Alto El Sol </a>ganache, milk chocolate sesame crunch layer, chocolate glaze, strands of pulled sugar, and meringue mushrooms sprinkled with sesame seeds.</p><p>This was the first time I'd had the Alto El Sol. "I recalled this one chocolate I'd tasted a couple of years ago that I loved so I asked for it," she said, "It had undertones of banana flavor. I wasn't thinking of peppermint or seasonal."</p><p>Her bûche is available by special order.</p><p>And the tragic moment?</p><p>"I made the buche at Vie," she said, "I set it on a tile I purchased. I'd been working on it a couple of days—a couple of long days. I transported everyting down to PV. I was walking through the kitchen and then just crashed down on my knees."</p><p>"The whole thing went crashing down."</p><p>"It was 10:30 the night before the competition. I knew we weren't going to be serving that, thank goodness, because there were tile fragments in it. I was upset for 10 minutes and then I thought it was pretty funny."</p><p>You are a pro Chef Narow, a hardcore pro.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-15/DSC_0772.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 200px;" title=""><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-15/DSC_0774.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 200px;" title=""></p><p>And last but not least, Jove Hubbard of David Burke's Primehouse served a cake with unusual flavors: fennel, lemon, and pine nuts.</p><p>"It was an opportunity to do something different," he said, "Usually for competition, flavors have to be super traditional."</p><p>"It was pretty cool that Patrick put it out there to be modern and different."</p><p>"So I was thinking pine trees. A yule log would probably be a pine tree."</p><p>"It was a chocolate dacquoise, a crunchy layer made with pine nuts—feuilletine, streusel, fennel pollen, and praliné—fennel and lemon curd, candied fennel, salted pine nut mousse, and Peruvian chocolate mousse."</p><p>He's serving a more classic bûche flavor starting tonight, through Christmas Eve; they're closed Christmas Day.</p><p>"They're individual chocolate bûche de Noël," he said, "Coffee crémeux, Bailey's ice cream, with pecan toffee."</p><p>His competition cake? "I guess I'd be happy to make it," he said, "I hadn't really thought about it. I don't really sell cakes to go."</p><p>"I don't have the boxes."</p><p>For a look at the bûches de Noël in Paris this year, my friends at Paris by Mouth are counting down the days until Christmas with a new one every morning <a href="http://parisbymouth.com/the-2011-buches-de-noel/">here</a>.</p></p> Thu, 15 Dec 2011 20:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/louisa-chu/2011-12-15/holiday-competition-sofitel-takes-cake-94941 Ethics Moment: I consume, therefore I am http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-12-14/ethics-moment-i-consume-therefore-i-am-94878 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-December/2011-12-14/black friday_flickr_steve rhodes.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Before the secret behind Santa was revealed to us by an older sibling or a loud-mouthed classmate, the magic of the holidays were untarnishable. Now, the season seems a little less jolly, focused mainly around getting the best deals to give the best presents that may cost more than we can afford.&nbsp;</p><p>Professor Al Gini confirms that holiday spending has become a critical measurement of national and global economic health. The majority of the year's retail sales will, in fact, happen within a month of Christmas. However, there are other aspects of the holidays that can be appreciated and enjoyed in the company of others.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/D2prdLwAvfg" width="560" frameborder="0" height="315"></iframe></p><p><em>Al Gini is a professor of business ethics and chair of the department of management at Loyola University Chicago. He is also the co-founder and associate editor of </em>Business Ethics Quarterly<em>, and the author of several books, including </em>My Job, My Self<em> and </em>Seeking the Truth of Things: Confessions of a (catholic) Philosopher.</p></p> Wed, 14 Dec 2011 15:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-12-14/ethics-moment-i-consume-therefore-i-am-94878