WBEZ | monica eng http://www.wbez.org/tags/monica-eng Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago’s top chefs join Ald. Ed Burke to urge limits on antibiotic use http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago%E2%80%99s-top-chefs-join-ald-ed-burke-urge-limits-antibiotic-use-110406 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/BURKE-photo.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When you see a gathering of white coated chefs around Chicago it&rsquo;s usually as part of a food festival or some gala dinner. But Tuesday morning some of the city&rsquo;s top cooks and restaurateurs gathered at City Hall to voice their concerns about public health and the way animals are raised in this country.</p><p>They were there to support a non-binding City Council resolution to support long-stalled Congressional bills on antibiotics. Known as <a href="http://www.louise.house.gov/the-preservation-of-antibiotics-for-medical-treatment-act">PAMPTA </a>and PARA, they would stop American farmers from using certain classes of antibiotics on healthy animals. The practice is meant to promote growth and prevent disease.</p><p>The world&rsquo;s leading health authorities believe that overuse of antibiotics in hospital and farm settings is leading to the rise of &ldquo;superbugs&rdquo;, or bacterial infections that can no longer be cured with antibiotics.</p><p>Long-time Chicago restaurateur and co-founder of the <a href="http://buygreenchicago.org/">Green Chicago Restaurant Coalition</a> Ina Pinkney introduced the long list of scientists and doctors who would speak at the finance committee hearing on the resolution later that day.</p><p>But she also shared a personal story of a friend who recently gave birth to twins.</p><p>&ldquo;One baby went home and the other one was sick and they found MRSA in her nose as a nine-day-old,&rdquo; Pinkney said. &ldquo;Then you have to say that things are not OK.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p>The <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/about.html">Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports</a> that over 2 million Americans are infected by so-called superbugs each year and and more than 23,000 die.</p><p>&ldquo;The antibiotic issue is just out of control,&rdquo; said Dan <a href="https://www.sopraffina.com/dolce/homepage.htm">Rosenthal, whose restaurant group </a>owns seven Chicago eateries including Sopraffina and Ciccheti.</p><p>&ldquo;We are creating, in our industrial meat complex, the perfect environment to create antibiotic resistant bacteria...They are found in our meat and water supply and system and what happens is we get to a situation where antibiotics are no longer effective.&rdquo; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Rosenthal is so concerned over the issue that since 2012, he&#39;s sourced all 800,000 pounds of meat he serves in his restaurants each year from farms who don&rsquo;t use antibiotics on their healthy animals.</p><p>It was also Rosenthal who, last April, urged Alderman Ed Burke to introduce the proposed resolution to the City Council.</p><p>If passed tomorrow, the resolution can&rsquo;t force Congress to do anything, but Burke says it can &ldquo;call the attention of the Illinois delegation to what we believe is an important public health initiative.&rdquo;</p><p>But the measures face considerable opposition. The biggest players in the livestock industry have long resisted any mandatory restrictions.</p><p>&quot;We are opposed to those bills because we really believe they are out of date with the current Food and Drug Administration regulatory activities,&rdquo; said Illinois Pork Producer Association spokesman Tim Maier, who is based in Springfield.</p><p>He&#39;s referring to recent voluntary guidelines that prohibit using antibiotics to make animals grow faster. But preventative uses are still in a gray area and critics say the situation is much too grave to solve with voluntary guidelines. They further argue that the government doesn&rsquo;t collect enough data to know if any farmers are choosing to comply. &nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p>But while health activists cite the rise of antibiotic resistant infections and antibiotic resistant bacteria on supermarket meat as as threat to public health, Maier says it&#39;s the restrictions proposed in the legislation that would cause a threat.</p><p>&ldquo;We think they would actually harm animal health and by extension food safety by limiting the antibiotics that are available for farmers to use when they want to treat their animals,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Denmark, which is one of the largest pork producers in the world, banned the use of non-therapeutic antibiotics in livestock in 2000. The move required some adjustments and saw some outbreaks of disease, but within a decade the World Health Organization &ldquo;found that the ban reduced human health risk without significantly harming animal health or farmers&#39; incomes,&rdquo; according to the<a href="http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/issue-briefs/2010/11/01/avoiding-antibiotic-resistance-denmarks-ban-on-growth-promoting-antibiotics-in-food-animals"> Pew Charitable Trust</a>.</p><p>So why are chefs and restaurateurs involved in this legislative discussion?</p><p>&ldquo;Because they understand that a meat supply that produces killer bacteria along with the meat is an unsustainable system and it has to be changed,&rdquo; said Rosenthal. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s why these chefs are standing up for meat raised in a sustainable fashion without antibiotics to provide a better source of supply of meat both at the restaurant level and in the grocery store.&quot;</p><p>At grocery stores like <a href="http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/about-our-products/quality-standards/animal-welfare-standards">Whole Foods Market, </a>meat raised without antibiotics has served the baseline standards for a few years. Jared Donisvitch oversees the butcher counter at the store&rsquo;s Lincoln Park location, where, he says, the antibiotic issue on shoppers minds.</p><p>&ldquo;It comes up fairly often with our interactions with customers,&rdquo; he said, &ldquo;and so we are a well-trained group here and try to help customers with any questions they have on that.&rdquo;</p><p>Representative Louise Slaughter of New York State is Congress&rsquo; only microbiologist and the sponsor of PAMPTA. Last week, she sent a letter to the Chicago City Council, saying &ldquo;It is only through local, grassroots efforts like yours that we will make a difference in public health on a national level.&quot;</p><p>If the City Council resolution passes this week, Chicago would join the ranks of Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Seattle and others. But even if all the cities in the nation adopt such resolutions, they can&rsquo;t pass an act of Congress.</p><p>Still, Susan Vaughn Grooters of <a href="http://www.keepantibioticsworking.com/">Keep Antibiotics Working</a>, a nationwide coalition that aims to pass legislation to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics, says the local resolutions add a new voice to the usual Congressional debates. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;If we could get the groundswell from city councils across the nation to help support the federal legislation it could really help what&rsquo;s happening in DC now,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s essential that they hear from other people, not just inside the beltway in DC.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p>Burke also notes that municipal resolutions have played a part in creating national momentum on issues in the past. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;One issue that comes to mind is the effort we undertook a number of years ago to ban trans fats from food products,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Now you can&rsquo;t walk down the aisles of the grocery store without seeing notations on boxes, &lsquo;no trans fats&rsquo;.&rdquo;</p><p>The City Council is expected to vote on the resolution Wednesday afternoon.</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 style="margin-left:.5in;">&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 25 Jun 2014 08:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago%E2%80%99s-top-chefs-join-ald-ed-burke-urge-limits-antibiotic-use-110406 Who makes Chicago's Top 5 croissants? http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/who-makes-chicagos-top-5-croissants-110110 <p><p>If you can&rsquo;t make it to Paris but still long for a rich buttery croissant, you don&rsquo;t have to look far in Chicago.</p><p>That wasn&rsquo;t always the case. For decades, we suffered a terrible deficit of decent French bakeries. But in recent years and months, Chicago has seen the opening of<a href="http://www.eclair-bakery.com/welcome/"> Eclair Patisserie</a> in Andersonville, &nbsp;<a href="http://www.laboulangeriechicago.com/">La Boulangerie</a> in Lakeview,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cellardoorprovisions.com/#welcome">Cellar Door Provisions</a>&nbsp;in Avondale,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.vanillepatisserie.com/home.php">Vanille Patisserie</a> in Lincoln Park and most recently,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.beurrage.com">Beurrage in Pilsen</a>. A Chicago location of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.lepainquotidien.com/store/gold-coast/#.U1qIPVdnBno">Le Pain Quotidien</a> is also set to open any day now in the Gold Coast.</p><p>Even&nbsp;<a href="http://www.starbucks.com/menu/food/bakery/butter-croissant?foodZone=9999">Starbucks</a> got in on French bakery act when it launched its own not-so-shabby line of croissants here last fall.</p><p>So what does this mean for Chicago croissant lovers? That depends on whom you talk to.</p><p>My<em> Chewing the Fat</em> co-host Louisa Chu is not impressed by the Chicago offerings, which she deems just &ldquo;OK.&rdquo; As Louisa OFTEN reminds me, she lived and cooked in Paris for years, and is consequently, &ldquo;spoiled.&rdquo;</p><p>When I suggested that she lighten up and join me on a quest to find five really delicious croissants in the city, she scoffed and said something like &ldquo;c&rsquo;est impossible!.&rdquo;</p><p>So, after we finished interviewing Beurrage baker Jeffrey Hallenback (whose croissants Louisa likes) on a recent Saturday, I set off with my 10-year-old daughter to find buttery bliss.</p><p>I started with a list of recommendations from foodies, colleagues and Facebook friends and quickly nibbled it down to 10 that I could munch in the next week. Facebook commenters suggested some that I didn&rsquo;t get to including those from Ely&rsquo;s Pancake House (four locations), Bon Jour Bakery in Hyde Park and St. Roger Abbey in Vernon Hills. &nbsp;</p><p>When all was said and done, we had a tie for No. 1 because Louisa only voted for one. I found four more that I would proudly serve on my table. They ran between $2.50 and $3.50 and all are worth it for the occasional decadent morning meal. Here they are:</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/CROISSANT%20beurrage.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="Beurrage in Pilsen makes croissants with home churned butter from Jersey cows. Louisa chose it as her favorite in Chicago. (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-bc880e77-b422-4a8d-22bc-f3a001e1099a">1. <a href="http://beurragechicago.com">Beurrage</a>: Supremely flakey with dough full of character building housemade cultured butter.</p><p dir="ltr">and</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/CROISSANT%20FRITZ.jpg" style="height: 436px; width: 620px;" title="Fritz Pastry’s ultra rich croissant tied for No. 1 in a recent Chewing the Fat croissant tasting. (WBEZ/Monica Eng)" /></div><p><a href="http://fritzpastry.com">Fritz Pastry</a>: Well-browned, complexly flavored croissants that are so criminally rich and buttery that you&rsquo;ll look around for the cops as you eat them. We think the ham and cheese version are THE best handheld breakfast in Chicago. &nbsp;</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/CROISSANT%20cellar%20door%281%29.jpg" style="height: 426px; width: 620px;" title="Cellar Door Provisions makes a croissant with an aggressively browned exterior and soft tender interior. (WBEZ/Monica Eng)" /></div><p>2. <a href="http://www.cellardoorprovisions.com/" target="_blank">Cellar Door Provisions</a>: Aggressively browned with a nutty exterior and light eggy center.</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/CROISSANT%20la%20vanille.jpg" style="height: 530px; width: 620px;" title="" /></div><p>3. <a href="http://www.vanillepatisserie.com/home.php" target="_blank">Vanille Patisserie</a>: Restrained browning, but a buttery and pleasantly sweet center.</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/CROISSANT%20la%20boulangerie.jpg" title="" /></div><p>4.<a href="http://www.laboulangeriechicago.com/" target="_blank">La Boulangerie</a>: Not gorgeous but full of a flakey but dense and flavorful dough.</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/eclair%20choco%20croissant.jpg" title="Eclair Patisserie has been selling retail out of Urban Orchard in Andersonville. (WBEZ/Monica Eng)" /></div><p>5. <a href="http://www.eclair-bakery.com/" target="_blank">Éclair Patisserie</a>: Delicate and buttery and we love the striping on the pain au chocolat and the little bag of 5 to go.</p><p><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/content/chewing-fat-podcast-louisa-chu-and-monica-eng">Chewing the Fat</a>&nbsp;podcast. Follow her at&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng">@monicaeng</a>&nbsp;or write to her at&nbsp;<a href="mailto:meng@wbez.org">meng@wbez.org</a></em></p></p> Wed, 30 Apr 2014 14:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/who-makes-chicagos-top-5-croissants-110110 Has a decade of school food reform resulted in healthier lunches? http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/has-decade-school-food-reform-resulted-healthier-lunches-110018 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/CPS spicy chicken patty (1).jpg" alt="" /><p><p>More than a decade ago, a few American reformers launched a major movement to improve the quality of school meals. In the ensuing years Congress has passed laws and schools have adopted their reforms. But what has really changed on the plate?</p><p>To get an idea we recently took a look at Chicago Public School menus and interviewed some of the leaders in school food reform.</p><p>This first look revealed that&nbsp;<a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cps.edu%2FAbout_CPS%2FDepartments%2FDocuments%2FElemBreakfast_English.pdf&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNHF1wXNo9mZvL706VeQabtiZw-YIg">breakfast offerings in most CPS schools</a> last week featured strawberry flavored pancakes, French toast sticks and pancakes wrapped around a sausage on a stick. And for lunch? The district&rsquo;s top three entrees include processed chicken patties, processed chicken nuggets and processed chicken crumbles over nachos.&nbsp; Each of those chicken products alone contains dozens of ingredients.</p><p>After years of efforts by First Lady Michelle Obama and others to put real food on cafeteria tables, why are meals in one of the most obese districts in the nation still dominated by sugary and processed food?</p><p>&ldquo;The schools have really been hijacked by the companies who are benefitting when children are fed and digest the values of fast food,&rdquo; says Alice Waters, the mother of American cuisine and founder of the <a href="https://www.google.com/url?q=https%3A%2F%2Fedibleschoolyard.org%2F&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNHuO6fHFuSQZr5x9qwI9Ta0nqnfhA">Edible Schoolyard Project in Berkeley</a> where kids learn to grow and cook their food. &ldquo;They are headed out to be consumers and that&rsquo;s what we are doing in the schools and so it&rsquo;s not surprising to me.&rdquo;</p><p>Ann Cooper is a culinary school trained chef who was recruited by Waters to launch a fresh local meals program in the Berkeley schools 15 years ago. Today, Cooper has brought that mission to the Boulder Valley School District where she&rsquo;s working to transform the the entire meal program.&nbsp; But these kinds of programs are still few and far between.</p><p>&ldquo;Considering that the National School Lunch Program has been around for 65 years and a good half of those years it has been serving bad food I think, in the last 10 years, we&rsquo;ve made positive change in leaps and bounds,&rdquo; Cooper said. &ldquo;But it&rsquo;s in small pockets and almost ethereal when it comes to what&rsquo;s on children&rsquo;s plates. It&rsquo;s really good, but maybe not so much in a lot of places.&rdquo;</p><p>We should note that WBEZ invited representatives from Michelle Obama&rsquo;s office, Chicago Public Schools, including their caterer Aramark, and the United States Department of Agriculture, which oversees the lunch program, to speak for this story. They all either declined or did not respond.</p><p>According to both Waters and Cooper one big fundamental flaw in the system is that so many districts hire large for-profit companies to cater the meals. They say the program should be about maximizing quality rather than profits.</p><p>&ldquo;The school district is trying to pay the least amount of money possible because they have a tight budget,&rdquo; Cooper said. &ldquo;Then they hire an outside contractor who is trying to make the most money possible because that&rsquo;s their job as a multi-national corporation. So it&rsquo;s really at odds with teaching children about food and serving the best food. It&rsquo;s just a lose-lose situation for children.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>In 2010 Sarah Wu stepped into this lose-lose situation. She took the school food world by storm by simply buying daily lunch, photographing it and writing about it on her anonymous blog called &ldquo;<a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Ffedupwithlunch.com%2Fcategory%2Fmrs-q%2Fthe-book-about-me-2%2F&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNFRso58FxlMd-7f0wAQ7_D3mU4HtA">Fed Up With Lunch.</a>&rdquo; It gave many readers their first glimpse of what was really on the plate, and in 2011 it became a book by the same name.</p><p>It was then that Wu finally revealed herself as a Chicago area mom, CPS speech pathologist and, finally, an open lunch crusader.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;I think that I came to the conclusion that it&rsquo;s such a thorny thing,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;There are a lot of people who have stakes in the business of school lunch and I really stepped into a hornets nest when I stepped into that. And I think I was a bit naive about how much it could really change.&rdquo;</p><p>These realizations and the arrival of a second child prompted Wu, last December, to drop out of the school food reform movement. At least for the time being.</p><p>But for those still in the fight, like Cooper, there are at least five major challenges that remain:</p><p>&ldquo;Food, finance, facilities, human resources and marketing,&rdquo; Cooper said. &ldquo;We need to be able to find [food] and make sure that it&rsquo;s good. The USDA foods have to be healthy.</p><p>The idea that we can have highly processed foods in schools has to change, but if we are going to change that we need to have kitchens and we need to be able to cook. If you are going to go from chicken nuggets to roast chicken you need ovens.&rdquo;</p><p>Cooper notes that the USDA recently pledged $11 million for school kitchen upgrades, but she believes you&rsquo;d need about a 100 times that much to do what&rsquo;s really necessary.</p><p>This lack of funding frustrates many food advocates who say that an investment up front can lay an early, healthy food foundation for the nation&rsquo;s most vulnerable children. They lament that in the last round of school lunch funding, Congress allocated just 6 cents more per meal to the program.<br /><br />Waters worries this will have disastrous effects on many levels.</p><p>&ldquo;There is hardly a country on this planet that doesn&rsquo;t think of food as something important and people are willing to pay for it,&rdquo; Waters says. &ldquo;But in this country we are unwilling to pay for it. But when you have cheap food somebody pays for it. We pay for it with our health, but we really pay for it in the destruction of our environment and the wages of the people who grow that food.&rdquo;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Lack of money is a common complaint for school food caterers. They say that, when all is said and done, they&#39;re left with only about $1 to spend on food per meal. Many cite that as the main reason they turn to processed patties and nuggets. But Paul Boundas, whose <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-03-17/news/ct-met-healthy-school-lunch-man-20110317_1_school-kitchen-meals-national-school-lunch-program">Country House catering serves lunch to thousands of Chicago Catholic </a>school students each day (even in majority low income schools), says a caterer can actually save on food costs by cooking whole foods from scratch each day. Boundas adds, however, that the caterer must be ready to invest in local jobs and a skilled work force rather than processed foods.&nbsp;</p><p>One last obstacle for change is the fact that districts lose federal money when kids don&rsquo;t take the meals. This presents a strong financial incentive to keep the nuggets and shun fresh food experimentation. For this reason, Cooper says it&rsquo;s essential to make healthy delicious, and then educate the kids about why they should eat them.<br /><br />&ldquo;In Boulder right now we are doing 200 to 300 events a year,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;We go into the cafeteria and work with the kids. We do Rainbow Days, we do tastings, we do chef demos, we do Iron Chef competitions. We work with kids on a daily basis to try new things. And that&rsquo;s how we&rsquo;re going to make the change. We&rsquo;re not just going to give them high fat, high sugar, high salt unhealthy food because that&rsquo;s what they think they want. Because that would not be an educational situation.&rdquo;<br /><br />But the question remains: If Chicago Public Schools ditched their processed food for something healthier, would they meet weeping and wailing, or would the children get on board?</p><p>There&rsquo;s only way way to find out.</p><p><em>(Full disclosure: One of Monica Eng&rsquo;s nine siblings works for a food company subcontracted by CPS to cater pre-prepared meals to many CPS schools without full kitchens.)</em></p><p><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-0f241261-60a9-d4d2-9ee7-48352a3b634d">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> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 09:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/has-decade-school-food-reform-resulted-healthier-lunches-110018 If Aldi is movin' on up, is it also leaving some behind? http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/if-aldi-movin-it-also-leaving-some-behind-109636 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/aldi inside.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When Whole Foods promises a new store in impoverished Englewood and Aldi thrives in posh Lincoln Park, things may seem a little upside down in the Chicago supermarket world.</p><p>But grocery store profiles can shift over time, and perhaps none more so than Aldi, the German-owned chain that launched here in 1976 as a no-frills, low end, budget grocer.</p><p>In recent years, the store has begun stocking more upscale (even organic) offerings. In the process, it&#39;s expanded its customer base, raising concerns among some that the chain has abandoned its original low-income supporters. Retail food consultant Jon Hauptman of Willard Bishop, has analyzed this trend (<a href="http://www.wbez.org/sections/food/monica-eng-why-foodie-loves-aldi-109350">which I recently observed myself</a>).</p><p>&ldquo;When you go to Aldi today you are very likely to see high performance cars and expensive automobiles and shoppers from a wide variety of demographics,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;They&rsquo;ve made it socially acceptable to shop at Aldi, and even a fun, interesting experience. And they&rsquo;re now locating their stores in more upscale areas than they did before with many of their stores being built from the ground up, something they never used to do. They used to just rent distressed space in existing strip malls. Today they&rsquo;re building new stores and the stores they&rsquo;re building are brighter and more appealing than they were a decade ago.&rdquo;</p><p>Indeed, Aldi promises to open about 650 more of these new stores over the next five years. The move will find them expanding into the American South and West, and nearly double the number of stores they currently operate. But as part of the new strategy the Batavia-based U.S. headquarters is also closing some stores.</p><p>Denise Moore is a councilwoman in Peoria&rsquo;s 1st District, where area residents, last month, protested the closing of a two decade-old Aldi in their neighborhood called the South End.</p><p>&ldquo;Quite honestly, they felt like they were being abandoned, that after 25 years of operating in the first district on that location Aldi up and left almost with no notice,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Aldi responded by explaining that it was opening a &ldquo;larger, new store&rdquo; in East Peoria.</p><p>It added: &ldquo;The new store replaced two locations in the area; both stores had been in operation for more than 20 years and were too small to offer customers the full line of Aldi products. We take the closing of any Aldi store very seriously. In this case, we made a business decision to build a store that offers an expanded variety of fresh foods to more customers in the area. We understand the concerns raised by some of our Peoria customers and appreciate their support over the past 25 years. &ldquo;</p><p>Moore says that she and the residents were told by Aldi that it was part of a strategy to open more stores near Wal-Marts. But she started to wonder if there was more to the strategy when she learned of another upcoming Aldi closure near a housing project in Pekin, Illinois. At the same time, she says, the chain is opening a store in a more affluent part of town. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;[Aldi] is moving further north into Pekin leaving that community as a food desert as well,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Aldi counters that the location it&#39;s closing in Pekin still has a Kroger store nearby.</p><p>Strangely enough, only a few years ago a <a href="http://www.chicagojournal.com/blogs/08-28-2009/Madison_and_Western_grocer:_from_the_archives">Chicago community successfully resisted</a> the building of a new Aldi in West Town because the store was seen as too low brow. Instead, a Pete&rsquo;s Fresh Market is scheduled to open there this spring.</p><p>Still, grocery store industry watcher, Hauptman, says that he sees Aldi&rsquo;s recent moves as more of an expansion than an abandonment of old customers.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think Aldi has given up on the lower income areas at all,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;They&rsquo;ve just expanded to &hellip;.serve a wider range of neighborhoods than they have in the past.&rdquo;</p><p>But if Aldi does vacate some poorer neighborhoods in the Midwest, is there a chain waiting to take its place?</p><p>&ldquo;If there is another format out there that is looking to serve a similar role it would be dollar stores,&rdquo; Hauptman said. &ldquo;They have traditionally built themselves in lower or lower-middle income neighborhoods. And&hellip;over the past 10 years they have begun to sell more consumables &ndash; food. If you go back 10 years consumables accounted for one third of their sales and non-consumables represented two-thirds. Today that has more than flip-flopped. &ldquo; &nbsp;</p><p>Hauptman further notes that a few other chains including Sav-A-Lot and PriceRite have taken a cue from Aldi&rsquo;s &ldquo;value oriented&rdquo; model and are targeting similar consumers. &nbsp;At the same time, however, the Midwest is also seeing growth in the higher-end, full service category of stores that include Mariano&rsquo;s and Whole Foods.</p><p>&ldquo;You can&rsquo;t be in the unsustainable middle ground anymore,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;That is exactly the reason Dominick&rsquo;s suffered so much. They didn&rsquo;t stand for anything special. They did a lot of things pretty well, but they weren&rsquo;t known for anything exceptional. Aldi is known for exceptional value and Mariano&rsquo;s and Whole Foods are known for exceptional quality. So they are establishing themselves in unique areas.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of the&nbsp;</em><em><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/content/chewing-fat-podcast-louisa-chu-and-monica-eng">Chewing the Fat</a></strong></em><em>&nbsp;podcast. Follow her at&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng">@monicaeng</a> or write to her at&nbsp;</em><em><a href="mailto:meng@wbez.org">meng@wbez.org</a></em></p></p> Tue, 04 Feb 2014 17:31:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/if-aldi-movin-it-also-leaving-some-behind-109636 Thanksgiving, new CPS lunch, how the founding fathers celebrated Thanksgivukkah http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2013-11-27/thanksgiving-new-cps-lunch-how-founding-fathers-celebrated <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/flickr_arfsb_turkey_0.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>The Afternoon Shift tackles everything you want to know about Thanksgiving. But first, we check in with WBEZ statehouse reporter Tony Arnold about a possible pension deal in Springfield. Later on in the show, WBEZ producer Monica Eng takes a look at the new school lunches at CPS with a few local teens. Then, Eric Schulmiller, Cantor of The Reconstructionist Synagogue of the North Shore, tells us how our founding fathers also celebrated Thanksgivukkah.</p><p>In the second hour, Eng&nbsp;and WBEZ food contributor Louisa Chu take calls, answer questions about the best way to cook a turkey. Kate Maehr, executive director of the Greater Chicago Food Depository, checks in to talk about fighting hunger over the holidays. And WBEZ producer Becky Vevea offers a vegetarian&#39;s perspective on the holidays.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/afternoon-shift-thanksgiving-planning-greater-chic-1/embed" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/afternoon-shift-thanksgiving-planning-greater-chic-1.js" type="text/javascript" language="javascript"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/afternoon-shift-thanksgiving-planning-greater-chic-1" target="_blank">View the story "Afternoon Shift: Thanksgiving, new CPS lunch, how the founding fathers celebrated Thanksgivukkah" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Wed, 27 Nov 2013 12:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2013-11-27/thanksgiving-new-cps-lunch-how-founding-fathers-celebrated 'Art and Appetite' looks at 250 years of American bellies and politics http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/art-and-appetite-looks-250-years-american-bellies-and-politics-109163 <p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Norman-Rockwell_Freedom-from-Want (2).jpg" style="float: left; height: 322px; width: 250px;" title="Norman Rockwell. Freedom from Want, 1942. Lent by the Norman Rockwell Museum, Norman Rockwell Art Collection Trust. " />Earlier this week the Art Institute of Chicago lifted the silver dome on its latest treat, an exhibit called &ldquo;Art and Appetite.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Featuring 100 paintings, sculptures and pieces of decorative arts, it offers a delicious romp through the victuals of 18th, 19th and 20th Century America. &nbsp;On a timely note, &ldquo;Art and Appetite&rdquo; kicks off with a &ldquo;Thanksgiving&rdquo; gallery featuring a pop art turkey by Roy Lichtenstein and Norman Rockwell&rsquo;s 1943 &nbsp;&ldquo;Freedom From Want,&rdquo; a painting that, for better or for worse, has come to define what the modern American Thanksgiving is supposed to look like.</p><p dir="ltr">And while sometimes a painted apple is just an apple, curator Judith Barter says food depictions are often served with a side of biting commentary on politics, social mores, national eating patterns and cultural decline.</p><p dir="ltr">Take, for instance, Francis Edmond&rsquo;s 1838 painting called &ldquo;The Epicure,&rdquo; depicting a gentleman eyeing a suckling pig for sale.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Francis-Edmonds_Epicure%20%281%29.jpg" title="Francis W. Edmonds. The Epicure, 1838. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT. The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund." /></div></div></div><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s loosely based on a previous Dutch picture from the 17th Century,&rdquo; Barter says. &ldquo;But it&rsquo;s also a political cartoon. When Andrew Jackson is president there is a large debate over sectionalism in the country: Northern banking interests versus the Jeffersonian ideal of Southern small farmers. And so the wealthy gourmand here with his snuff box and big side of beef and Madeira represents the North. He has stopped at a country inn and he is being presented with a suckling pig, which represents the prevalent meat of the South, by a simple farmer and his wife. So there are political overtones to this as well.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The exhibit also features an entire gallery of still life paintings &mdash; mostly by 19th Century &nbsp;painter Raphaelle Peale &mdash; that can be appreciated as dazzling food porn or biting commentaries on the social, economic and agricultural issues of his era.</p><p dir="ltr">This one, Barter notes, illuminates the era&rsquo;s seasonal produce as well as the kinds of glass and porcelain goods that were being exported from China at the time.</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/Raphaelle-Peale_Still-Life-Strawberries-Nuts%20%281%29.jpg" title="Raphaelle Peale. Still Life - Strawberries, Nuts, &amp;c., 1822. Art Institute of Chicago. Gift of Jamee J. and Marshall Field." />&nbsp;Another Peale painting from the 1820&rsquo;s depicts cabbage, squash, okra, &nbsp;squash blossoms and tomatoes, which Barter notes Americans considered &ldquo;nasty smelling&rdquo; and didn&rsquo;t generally eat raw. &nbsp;</div><p dir="ltr">But the painting also features a warty, cucumber-like fruit filled with red poisonous seeds and a pointed message. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s called a balsam pear,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;At this period of time in the 1820s there is already lots of discussion about Americans&rsquo; use of their land and preserving it. Former President James Madison, in 1819, is addressing Congress and other groups about how Americans need to plow under their spent crops and rotate their crops and better take care of their land. So, to me, this [poisonous fruit among late summer crops] is a little trouble introduced into the Garden of Eden.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Art and Appetite&rdquo; also features galleries devoted to trompe l&rsquo;oeil paintings of single ingredients, others devoted to restaurant (Edward Hopper&#39;s &ldquo;Nighthawks&rdquo;) and cocktail culture, and another to simple rustic, home recipes. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">While some folks may love &ldquo;Art and Appetite&rdquo; for its window into the bellies of 18th and 19th Americans (at least among a certain class of bellies), others may appreciate the more conceptual 20th Century pop art of Andy Warhol and sculptor Claes Oldenburg, whose works include a giant fried egg and pile of green beans.</p><p dir="ltr">And for those who want to take some of this back to their homes and kitchens, there is a lovely companion book ($30-$50) with fascinating analysis and historical recipes for things like &ldquo;sheepes tongue pie,&rdquo; potted pigeons and molasses cake. Some of these recipes and more contemporary American dishes from top Chicago chefs are also featured on the <a href="http://extras.artic.edu/artandappetite">exhibit&rsquo;s website</a>, which launched this week. Bon appetit!</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Monica Eng is a producer for WBEZ. Follow her on Twitter @monicaeng.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Fri, 15 Nov 2013 12:29:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/art-and-appetite-looks-250-years-american-bellies-and-politics-109163 Morning Shift: Food for thought (and a chocolate croissant, too) http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-08-21/morning-shift-food-thought-and-chocolate-croissant <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/CSA-Flickr- Edsel L.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We critique some new breakfast options at Starbucks, and offer new ways to deal with your Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) provider. And, a shooting on a CPS &quot;safe passage&quot; route raises questions as the new school year approaches.&nbsp;</p><p><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-48/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-48.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-48" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Food for thought (and a chocolate croissant, too)" on Storify</a>]</noscript></p></p> Wed, 21 Aug 2013 08:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-08-21/morning-shift-food-thought-and-chocolate-croissant Morning Shift: Palm oil's unsavory beginnings http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-08-07/morning-shift-palm-oils-unsavory-beginnings-108314 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Palm Oil-Flickr- cyn_nister.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We discuss the Bloomberg investigation into the unsavory practices in the palm oil industry. And do you care who your children&#39;s role models are? Baseball&#39;s recent PED scandal is calling the issue of role models to the plate.</p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-37.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-37" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Palm oil's unsavory beginnings" on Storify</a>]</noscript></p> Wed, 07 Aug 2013 08:38:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-08-07/morning-shift-palm-oils-unsavory-beginnings-108314 Morning Shift: Good food and good samaritans http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-07-09/morning-shift-good-food-and-good-samaritans-107991 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Health Food-Flickr- @10.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>WBEZ political reporter Tony Arnold previews lawmakers&#39; trek back to Springfield when they&#39;ll revisit pension reform and conceal and carry. And, ChicagoTribune reporter Monica Eng discusses how to educate people on eating well. Plus, when have you acted as a Good Samaritan?</p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-good-food-and-good-samaritans.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-good-food-and-good-samaritans" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Good food and good samaritans" on Storify</a>]</noscript></p> Tue, 09 Jul 2013 08:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-07-09/morning-shift-good-food-and-good-samaritans-107991 Morning Shift: Diet trends, bikes and music http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-06-28/morning-shift-diet-trends-bikes-and-music-107894 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Chicago Bike Sharing_courtesy of Associated Press.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>As Chicago launches its bike-share program, we hear from you about if this new service will be utilized or largely ignored. Also, Monica Eng gives us the facts and fallacies about diet trends. And Chicago&#39;s Black Ensemble Theater pays tribute to Howlin&#39; Wolf.</p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-diet-trends-bikes-and-music.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-diet-trends-bikes-and-music" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Diet trends, bikes and music " on Storify</a>]</noscript></p> Fri, 28 Jun 2013 08:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-06-28/morning-shift-diet-trends-bikes-and-music-107894