Serious Eats: Talk

Ideas for SE Chicago site

In case you were lacking in ideas for the kinds of things you could include in SE Chicago, I wanted to start a list/thread on some of the foods and food topics that make Chicago special. As a Chicagoland ex-pat, I now realize how many things I took for granted that are pretty much unattainable elsewhere or just not part of the culture.

1. Hot dogs. I know Chicago dogs have gotten plenty of love on SE throughout the years, but they cannot be talked about enough. Hot dog joints outnumber all the McD's, BK, and Wendy's *combined*, according to the PBS doc, "A Hot Dog Program." Keep it comin' with the hot dog threads.

2. Eastern European foods. The prevalence of Poles, Hungarians, Slovaks, etc., in Chicago has permeated the food culture to an extent that I think most Chicagoans take for granted. I know I did. It was a rude awakening to go to a potluck and not see sausage and sauerkraut as a staple. And kielbasa/kolbasz/kolbasa at every cookout. Lightly dressed homemade slaws that taste nothing like the crap turned out by supermarkets. Dark ryes. SE Chicago could spend weeks on Bobaks, Joe & Franks, Gilmart, and other fine purveyors of Eastern European meats. And the holiday foods? Where's the nutroll, kifli, etc., etc. In fact, that leads me to...

3. Holiday foods. When I go home to Chicago at Christmas, every party has the same goodies that are found in no other city. The aforementioned nutroll and kifli but also pierogi and so much more.

4. Gyros. Yes, gyros. They were invented in Chicago. And a Chicago gyro is without peer.

5. Butcher shops. For those who live in old cities in the North, do you realize that butcher shops are not found everywhere? I think there's one in the entire city where I live now in the South, and I've never even been (far away, high prices). In Chicago, you have butcher shops everywhere, serving up great meats at great prices.

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