WBEZ | monica eng http://www.wbez.org/tags/monica-eng Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Is it time for the 'Immigrant Diet'? http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/it-time-immigrant-diet-110723 <p><p>At a little Asian grocery store on Chicago&rsquo;s north side, Douglas Cheok studies the produce as he shuffles down the aisles. The Malaysian-born communications consultant, carefully selects small amounts of ginger, garlic, leafy greens, and soba noodles.</p><p>Then he stops at a shelf lined with fermented bean curd.</p><p>&ldquo;This salted bean curd soaked in vinegar and oil adds a more solid taste to the noodle soup or whatever you cook,&rdquo; he says sharing an Asian secret to inexpensive flavor. &nbsp;</p><p>Cheok adds the pungent curd to his cart, grabs a few fresh shrimp and heads to the check out line to buy groceries. It all costs less than $15 but he says it will last well over a week.</p><p>Once back in the kitchen, Cheok chops, minces, boils and stir fries his ingredients into a large feast of soup, greens and noodles. In the process, he demonstrates what might hold the key to affordable nutrition for all.</p><p>At least that&rsquo;s the working hunch of public health professor Adam Drewnowski, who is researching folks who upend conventional wisdom by achieving high levels of nutrition on tiny budgets.</p><p>Drewnowski stumbled upon the phenomenon last year when he was examining data on nutrient dense foods. Much of it is fairly expensive, but there were a few exceptions. Among a small group of Mexican American adults Drewnowski found consumers who were achieving high levels of nutrition at a low cost.</p><p>&ldquo;So maybe the secret is being able to transform those real foods, the raw ingredients which can be obtained cheaply at ethnic markets, into tasty meals&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Maybe, if you know how to cook them and transform then you&rsquo;re going to be OK.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Douglas Cheok show how he cooks healthy on a budget</strong></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/XKVFUFgUWUM" width="560"></iframe></p><p>Drewnowski is the Director of the Center for Public Health Nutrition at the University of Washington and he&rsquo;ll be looking at a different sample of data later this year from Seattle. There he also expects to find Asian immigrants like Cheok.</p><p>So what is it about these immigrants that allows them to pull off this feat? &nbsp;</p><p>The folks at OldWays believe it&rsquo;s about sticking to traditional diets. OldWays is a nutrition non-profit aimed at improving health through heritage. And it urges folks to adopt many of the healthful tenets of Mediterranean, Latin American and Asian diets. This month they are launching classes on the African Heritage diet as well. &nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;Traditional diets are not expensive diets,&rdquo; says OldWays president Sara Baer-Sinnott. &ldquo;The longer that immigrants are here in the US and become acculturated, the less likely they are to continue their traditional way of eating and therefore their health statistics decline. They become more obese. They have more hypertension. They are overweight. And by following traditional diets, it&rsquo;s not a very expensive way to eat and it&rsquo;s a healthier way to eat.&rdquo;</p><p>These diets can be especially affordable in cities like Chicago with abundant, low-cost ethnic grocers. While limes can cost 50 cents apiece at mainstream stores, they can often be 12 for a dollar at ethnic grocers.</p><p>Kenny Moore is a produce buyer for Pete&rsquo;s Fresh Market which serves heavily ethnic communities. He says that he&rsquo;s able to offer bargain prices because he sells such a large volume.</p><p>&ldquo;On a whole Hispanics and Asians do buy a lot of produce and so it helps our volume and our buying,&rdquo; Moore says. &ldquo;They like cooking and use a lot of herbs and vegetables to do so.&rdquo;</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/ethnic%20grocer%202.jpg" title="Ethnic grocery stores can offer incredible deals on produce because they sell so much of it, store reps say. (WBEZ/Monica Eng)" /></div><p>The situation in these ethnic neighborhoods would appear to be a public health professional&rsquo;s dream: affordable, accessible produce and lots of folks who know how to cook it. So does that automatically equal great health? Not always. &nbsp;</p><p>While Asian-Americans suffer less obesity than the general population, Latinos check in with more. In fact, 6th grade Latino boys suffer from the highest childhood obesity levels in the nation, despite generally robust access to fresh produce. &nbsp;</p><p>This phenomenon is called the Latino paradox and public health researchers are still trying to sort it out.</p><p><strong>&ldquo;</strong>There are plenty of grocery stores in the neighborhood but buying healthy food. It gets tricky,&rdquo; says Erica Rangel a coordinator for <a href="http://enlacechicago.org/">Enlace, a health and education non-profit</a> in the Little Village neighborhood.</p><p>She recently gathered a group of women enrolled in an Enlace healthy gardening program to talk to about what&rsquo;s contributing to poor health in their community.</p><p>Graciela Contreras is a school lunch lady, gardener and grandmother who suffers from diabetes. Ironically, she blames some of the health problems in her community on traditional Mexican foods.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re used to the way we were taught to eat by our parents in Mexico &mdash; to eat tacos and enchiladas all that,&rdquo; she says in Spanish. &ldquo;That comes with more fat. So we are teaching our children and grandchildren to be healthier by eating vegetables. I steam the vegetables now.&rdquo;</p><p>Rangel believes the health issues have more to do with genetic factors, assimilation and little time for scratch cooking.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s easier when you&rsquo;re trying to feed a family and you feel that pressure to just buy in bulk things with higher sodium that are processed foods,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;You find it everywhere.&rdquo;</p><p>The other ladies offered similar sentiments. But I also chatted with local 6th grader Victor Marquez. While he doesn&rsquo;t have a weight problem, he says he know a lot of boys who do.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think they&rsquo;d have a problem if they ate good food but they eat bad foods,&rdquo; Marquez says. <strong>&ldquo;</strong>They eat junk like frozen stuff, chips, pizza, candy chocolates, lollipops, whatever.&rdquo;</p><p>But what about the fresh fruit stands that operate on nearly every block in Little Village? Don&rsquo;t his pals buy their fresh cups of mangoes, corn, melon and pineapple?</p><p>&ldquo;I always see kids get the chicharrones and the raspados and those aren&rsquo;t good because they&rsquo;re like ink,&rdquo; he says &nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p>Those chicharrones are deep fried artificial pork rinds and the raspados are snow cones drenched in inky sugar syrup. One vendor told me they&rsquo;re her No. 1 seller with kids.</p><p>But there may be hope for these kids off the street and back in the home. Drewnowski has some new research coming out that suggests the longer folks spend cooking, the better they eat. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>That certainly seems to be true for Douglas Cheok.</p><p>Back in his kitchen, he&rsquo;s chopping vegetables and boiling water for his stir fried greens and shrimp noodle soup. In less than an hour he&rsquo;s turned out enough dishes to last him all week. &nbsp;</p><p>As Cheok finally sits down to his his meal of shrimp soup and tofu with greens, he shares a startling secret.</p><p>&ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t know how to cook before I came to the States,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;In Malaysia eating out was cheap so I didn&rsquo;t have to cook.&rdquo;</p><p>Still, the retiree says that if he can learn to cook, &ldquo;Anyone can learn. You don&rsquo;t need a college degree to know how to cook. But it is always good to know how to cook.&rdquo;</p><p>And it might not hurt to live near an ethnic grocery store.</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><iframe width="100%" height="450" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/48706770&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;visual=true"></iframe></p> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 13:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/it-time-immigrant-diet-110723 Remembering 'Annoying Music Show' and 'Magnificent Obsession' host Jim Nayder http://www.wbez.org/sections/health/remembering-annoying-music-show-and-magnificent-obsession-host-jim-nayder-110595 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Nayder.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Last summer Chicago Public Radio listeners were shocked by the death of WBEZ radio personality Jim Nayder. As host of both The Annoying Music Show and the addiction-focused Magnificent Obsession, Nayder was a complex character.</p><p>To millions, he was was the master curator of annoying musical oddities that ventured so far into the land of bad, that they were almost good--almost.</p><p>They included Lorne Green singing &ldquo;As Time Goes By,&rdquo; Tiny Tim and Bob Dylan singing &ldquo;I Got You Babe&rdquo; and Sammy Davis Jr. singing the theme to Hawaii 5-0. Who knew it had words?</p><p>Nayder&rsquo;s 3-minute show appeared on more than 100 public radio stations across the country; and his regular appearances on NPR&rsquo;s Weekend Edition with Scott Simon expanded the wacky Annoying Music brand all over the country. The show would eventually spawn CDs, live concerts and more.</p><p>But to many early-morning listeners, Nayder was the voice of another very different show, one that focused on wrenching journeys from addiction to recovery.</p><p>Using nothing but hand-picked music and first-person narrative, Magnificent Obsession presented &nbsp;tales of desperation and hopelessness that were bearable only because you knew, that by the end the show, the speaker might make it to the other side.</p><p>In Chicago, most episodes aired in the predawn hours of the weekend. But longtime Nayder friend and former radio producer Craig Alton says the timing was by design.</p><p>&ldquo;To us in the radio business that might seem like dog time,&rdquo; Alton said. &ldquo;But God&rsquo;s honest truth was that&rsquo;s exactly when you want to hit that drinking audience people who are loaded sitting up all night, they listen to this, and right when they&rsquo;re most drunk you hit them with this guy&rsquo;s story.&rdquo;</p><p>Typical stories would feature confessions like &ldquo;And it suddenly dawned on me that I was sitting there shooting dope;&rdquo; or, &ldquo;I envied people that looked normal to me...and I wanted to feel that sense of peace. I wanted the turbulence to stop but I didn&rsquo;t want to give up drinking.&rdquo;</p><p>Nayder often scored these long first-person narratives with love songs whose themes of despair applied equally to heartbreak and addiction.</p><p>Even in the last few months of his life, Nayder was still delivering weekly shows to WBEZ. But what most people--including close friends--didn&rsquo;t know, was that Nayder was dying of the very disease his show was meant to help heal.</p><p>His daughter Blair Botti tried to explain.</p><p>&ldquo;Many people didn&rsquo;t know,&rdquo; Botti said. &ldquo;And I think his way of being public with it was through Magnificent Obsession. &nbsp;What we always said was that he would have loved to be a guest on his own show if he ever were able to recover; because that would have been the ultimate success.&rdquo;</p><p>Despite enrolling in multiple addiction programs, Nayder never did achieve recovery. And he&rsquo;d never get tell his story of finally making it to the other side.</p><p>But today his wife of three decades, Laurie Nayder, and Botti are working to digitally release the stories Nayder gathered from so many others. It&rsquo;s an effort, they say, to help all those struggling with the same demons that eventually took the man they loved.</p><p>And today we tell his story.</p><p>Jim Nayder was born in 1954 on the South Side of Chicago to a large Catholic family. The tall lanky teen played high school hockey for Quigley South. And he spent his summers on his grandfather&rsquo;s Wisconsin farm where he developed a love of ham radio and wild animals.</p><p>In 1974 Jim enrolled in the seminary at Chicago&rsquo;s Loyola University. But soon after arriving, things changed. The priest-in-training fell in love when he went to a party and met a self-identified, &ldquo;nice Jewish girl&rdquo; named Laurie Brown.</p><p>&ldquo;l had some friends that were in the seminary that took classes at Loyola,&rdquo; Laurie [Brown] Nayder remembered. &ldquo;They had really good parties and that&rsquo;s why I hung out with them. Jim came in his junior year to the seminary and he was next door to a really good friend of mine,--Father Wayne, now, but Wayne at the time--and that&rsquo;s how I met him&hellip;&rdquo; she recalled. &ldquo;He had a jukebox that played 78s in his room and I thought that was very cool. But I thought he was just a riot, extremely quirky and really funny.&rdquo;</p><p>Jim and Laurie married in 1977 and by 1980 they gave birth to a future Chicago Public School teacher named Blair. For her, Jim&rsquo;s sense of humor meant things like surprise chocolate sundaes that would magically appear from under her bed during storytime.</p><p>&ldquo;Which, I&rsquo;m sure my mom was pleased about, because it was right before bed,&rdquo; she remembered. &ldquo;But that&rsquo;s just how he was. He would make up all these crazy bedtime stories with elaborate ways my bunny blanket would save the day and he was just a really funny, great, kind dad.&rdquo;</p><p>That sense of wacky spontaneity would also end up birthing the now legendary Annoying Music Show one Saturday morning in 1996. Laurie Nayder, WBEZ engineer Mike Gilmore and Craig Alton shared their collective memories on how it all started.</p><p>&ldquo;He used to do the breaks for WBEZ on the weekends...&rdquo; Laurie started</p><p>&ldquo;As I remember it, there was a band that was delayed. The producer asked me if I needed more time. I asked her to tell Jim Nayder, who was in another room, if he could kill 3 minutes,&rdquo; Gilmore added. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;We had nothing to put on, so he grabs a record and the only thing next to him was Slim Whitman. He puts it on,&rdquo; Alton added. &nbsp;</p><p>Laurie remembered Slim Whitman singing &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a Small World,&rdquo; too. &ldquo;And oh my goodness! Anyway, he put it on and said &lsquo;that was the Annoying Music Show,&rdquo; Laurie recalled.</p><p>&ldquo;The people answering the phone said the people calling want to know what&rsquo;s on The Annoying Music Show next week and that&rsquo;s when Jim told us that he&rsquo;d played Slim Whitman&rsquo;s &lsquo;It&rsquo;s a Small World,&rsquo;&rdquo; Gilmore added.</p><p>Alton said it was the largest response the radio station received for anything. &ldquo;And we all agreed that whatever it was it was big and it really got people&rsquo;s response going,&rdquo; Alton remarked.</p><p>Laurie said she thought it lit a fire under him--and the rest, was history. &nbsp;</p><p>The show was quickly, picked up all over the country and drove sales on at least four Annoying Music CDs, including a Christmas CD,The Annoying Music Show Presents Songs for People and You Can&rsquo;t Handle This Annoying Music Show. But, as Nayder explained to Simon, the featured music couldn&rsquo;t just be bad music...it had to be seriously wrong.</p><p>&ldquo;He took a particular delight in finding music that people really recorded earnestly,&rdquo; Simon said. &ldquo;I mean they really wanted to put themselves across; and on the other hand there was something elemental about it that just misfired and didn&rsquo;t serve the best purposes. And that&rsquo;s where the humor was.&rdquo;</p><p>While much of the music came from scouring garage sales and wary friends&rsquo; record collections, eventually Laurie says the public started to help.</p><p>&ldquo;People would say &lsquo;Oh, I have something&rsquo; and they&rsquo;d send him things,&rdquo; she recalled. &ldquo;I know he was always upset that he gave Scott Simon his Leonard Nimoy album and I don&rsquo;t think he ever got it back. So he had to find a new one to play.&rdquo;</p><p>For nearly two decades--even as he took on other jobs--Nayder would spend his week&rsquo;s producing two different shows--collecting stacks of quirky songs for one and stacks of heartbreaking recovery tales for another. &nbsp;</p><p>And while Jim accepted, and even enjoyed the wild popularity of The Annoying Music Show, he told This American Life in 1998, his heart belonged to Magnificent Obsession. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;The experience of Magnificent Obsession in a week, to me, is much more moving on a bunch of levels,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Someone will make contact with me to be on the show. And, in the course of a couple of hours, they told me their deepest, darkest, funniest, most-uplifting experience. And I&#39;ve never met this person before.&rdquo;</p><p>As Laurie and Blair listen to the old episodes of Magnificent Obsession in preparation for launching them as a podcast later this year, they says it&rsquo;s some of Jim&rsquo;s musical choices that touch them most. He used a lot of Leonard Cohen and Lucy Kaplansky but also Aerosmith and Madonna.</p><p>&ldquo;I think the first song he used on the show was Pink Floyd&rsquo;s &lsquo;Comfortably Numb,&rsquo;&rdquo; Blair recalled.</p><p>&ldquo;Also, he would take a lot of songs that you would think were love songs and if you in the right place in your head you realize the love was the love of your addiction,&rdquo; Laurie said. &ldquo;And the song was even more powerful than a love song.&rdquo;</p><p>Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg, whose has engaged in a very public struggle with alcoholism himself, was featured as one of the few fully-named guests on Magnificent Obsession. Most remained anonymous or only offered their first names.</p><p>That taping session Steinberg did with Jim was his first and last encounter with the radio host. Still, he says the news of Jim&rsquo;s death last year shook him.</p><p>&ldquo;It gave me a chill,&rdquo; Steinberg said, &ldquo;because I&rsquo;m writing another recovery book and I am very attuned to the idea that here Jim was trying to help by sharing these stories while the thing was coming back. And that&rsquo;s the insidious part of addiction. I call it the beast in the basement. Some days it&rsquo;s very quiet and some days you can just hear that door crack as it&rsquo;s throwing itself against it.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p>Although Steinberg never heard a predawn airing of the episode others clearly had. He said he heard from friends and readers every time it aired.</p><p>&ldquo;Someone must be listening at 5:00 a.m. on a Sunday, or whenever it played, because I would hear from people that it would move them every time,&rdquo; Steinberg said.</p><p>Although he was very private about it, Nayder also heard from many listeners who had been helped and moved by the program, according to his friend Craig Alton.</p><p>&quot;There were many cases where people would call him a year later and say you know if it wasn&rsquo;t for that show I wouldn&rsquo;t have cleaned myself up,&rdquo; Alton said.</p><p>In retrospect, friends also wonder how much Jim used the shows as a way to preserve his own sobriety--almost forcing himself to attend weekly meetings as part of his job. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve thought about that a lot in the year that&rsquo;s gone by,&rdquo; Simon said .&rdquo;I do think that he thought he might be able to find something that would help him by doing the show. And, by the way, all of us can. You don&rsquo;t have to be fighting a particular substance abuse problem to find something in that show that&rsquo;s filled with wisdom and insight and helps you live a better life.</p><p>&quot;But I think he also thought it was a way of giving something to others whose struggle he understood in a personal and important way--giving something to them even if he couldn&rsquo;t always accept those lessons himself. And I think he wound up accomplishing something very important with that.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p>Simon, like most friends, learned of Jim&rsquo;s alcoholism very late. And even his closest friend, Alton, said he discovered Jim&rsquo;s problem only after a decade of friendship.</p><p>It was Christmas Day. Jim had been taking medication designed to stop alcohol use. But he drank anyway and ended up the hospital.</p><p>&ldquo;He wasn&rsquo;t an ugly drunk,&rdquo; Alton said. &ldquo;He was a happy guy but he drank in a different way than I have seen anybody drink. He would go 10 years without taking a drink and then down a small bottle of vodka in a single gulp. His goal was to drink and pass out; drink and pass out.&rdquo;</p><p>This struggle would go on for decades Laurie said.</p><p>&ldquo;But he maintained a life for years and years with the struggle,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;He was still Jim. He was still able to function pretty much fully. His show went on. His life went on. And until the very end he was the nicest man in the world. He was a nice man with a horrible, horrible problem.&rdquo;</p><p>In his final months Jim and Laurie divorced and he ceased contact with almost everyone he knew. &nbsp;Laurie, Blair, Simon and Alton shared the accounts.</p><p>&ldquo;I left; and that&rsquo;s hard because I had to leave,&rdquo; Laurie said. &ldquo;And then when he died, well, I wasn&rsquo;t with him--so I feel guilty.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;There were indications I got in that final year that he was on and off the wagon,&rdquo; Simon said. &ldquo;There were times when you&rsquo;d talk to him and he seemed upbeat even chipper and &nbsp;then there would be times when he would text you in the middle of the night and you knew something was wrong.</p><p>&ldquo;He made it to Blair&rsquo;s wedding which was huge,&rdquo; Laurie said. &ldquo;He was fine at the wedding and you got the father-daughter dance, and then I think that was kind of the peak, but that was it.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;It certainly was beyond him to surrender,&rdquo; Alton said. &ldquo;I think he really was just sucked into it. I came out of the apartment one day and I sat in my car and I just cried because you knew it was the end. You knew, this was the last time I&rsquo;d ever see Jim. I thought I should&rsquo;ve taken a picture with him because maybe this was the last time I&rsquo;d see Jim. And, in fact, it was the last time I&rsquo;d ever see or hear from him again.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;He would text a lot to say &lsquo;I&rsquo;m sorry&rsquo; and &lsquo;I love you&rsquo;&rdquo; Laurie said.</p><p>&ldquo;He got to meet Freddy, his grandson, twice--and that was great,&rdquo; Blair remembered. &ldquo;But he just struggled so much for years and, as you put it, he was like a 95-year-old man in a 59-year-old body.&rdquo;</p><p>But family and friends say that Jim would like to be remembered differently.</p><p>&ldquo;I think he&rsquo;d like to be remembered as a loving husband and father,&rdquo; Blair said. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m sure it would be in a funny way,&rdquo; Alton said. &ldquo;He&rsquo;d probably want people to put records on his gravestone. He&rsquo;d want photos of him and kids coloring all over them and making a coloring book of Jim Nayder&rsquo;s life--good and bad all included. Just something bizarre and eccentric. He would want people to hold hands around his grave and sing &#39;kumbaya.&#39; Just something really off-the-wall. He would love it.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I hope he knew we thought of him as a good man,&rdquo; Laurie said. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think he maybe thought that sometimes. But I&rsquo;ve always thought of him as a good man.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;He gave so much more into this world than those of us who loved him,&rdquo; Simon said. &ldquo;And I think of that that love and humor...He makes me laugh every week, even today, and he&rsquo;s been gone a year. I &nbsp;think that is going to happen for the rest of my life. I think our children are going to grow up laughing at what he did; and that puts a lot of laughter into this world.&rdquo;</p><p>You can still hear Jim on archived shows of <a href="http://www.npr.org/programs/weekend-edition-saturday/archive">Weekend Edition </a>and Laurie and Blair hope to have select episodes of Magnificent Obsession available in podcast by the end of the year.</p><p>&ldquo;It may not have been the more popular of the two shows but it was definitely the show he was most proud of, and obviously it hit close to home,&rdquo; Blair says. &ldquo;But I think he would have been really happy that even in his death, if he was able to help people with their life now he could still do that.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of WBEZ&rsquo;s Chewing the Fat podcast. Follow her on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng">@monicaeng</a></em></p></p> Fri, 01 Aug 2014 17:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/health/remembering-annoying-music-show-and-magnificent-obsession-host-jim-nayder-110595 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