The food that's most reflective of a culture is street food, eaten by locals every day on their way to and from work, frequently prepared outside their homes or offices with products sometimes growing (or caught) in the neighborhood. I just received my copy of Street Food around the World, edited by Colleen Sen and former Wednesday Journalcontributor Bruce Kraig. For this encyclopedia, I wrote chapters on street food I enjoyed last year in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand.
Last month, DeOrio and I met up at Johnnie's Beef, the legendary Italian beef stand in Elmwood Park, to talk about the show and Italian beef. De Orio grew up down the street from Johnnie's, so it's been a part of her life since she was little.
Using what information has come down to us about Sumerian beer making, archaeologists from the University of Chicago teamed up with Great Lakes Brewing Company and Glunz Beers to replicate ancient Sumerian beer making techniques. Then they held an event to celebrate the brews at Fountainhead on the north side of Chicago.
Driving by, you can't help but be tempted (call to adventure) by the warm yellow glow, always inviting. After you stop, you face a long line (journey), engage with the fierce counterman (the trial), and enjoy the reward (the beef, bro!).
For 2013, the Chicago Food Film Festival, which runs November 21-23, will feature "You Really Should Eat This: Corned Beef Hash at George's" and "You Really Should Eat This: Feijoada at Taste of Brasil Café."
The Windy City BBQ Classic runs from 11AM until 9PM on September 1 in Soldier Field. It costs about $50 to eat meat all day; add another $30 and you can drink craft beer all day, too. And who knows, despite all that, you might even learn something about the pitmaster's craft.