Why are foodways important?

Foodways is the study of what people eat and why. Why we procure, prepare and serve the food we do has cultural, sociological, geographical, financial and political influences.



Why is recognition of diverse foodways valuable?

Preserving our past and present for the future by research, documentation and oral histories. It is culinary anthropology on the hoof, paw, root and leaf.



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About us


The Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance is dedicated to celebrating, exploring and preserving unique food traditions and their cultural contexts in the American Midwest. By hosting public events, developing archival resources and generating publications, Greater Midwest Foodways uncovers the distinctiveness of a region that is as varied in tastes and traditions as it is in its geography from the Great Lakes to the Great Plains. Whether indigenous foods like Wisconsin cranberries and Minnesota walleye, iconographic flavors like the wheat and corn from across the prairies, immigrant cuisines from early Europeans to 21st century newcomers, or fish boils and fine dining in small towns and big cities, Greater Midwest Foodways promotes and chronicles the diversity of the region’s culinary character.


What are our plans for the next year? for the next 5 years, and beyond?

We are presently in the beginning phases of GMFA. We are developing a board, recruiting charter members and representatives to apprise us of research and program opportunities. We are in the process of creating the governance, legal and funding foundation to support our mission.


We had a successful launch in September 15, 2007 when we explored Midwestern sausage traditions with in an event aptly named ‘Stuffed.’ We gathered April 5th, 2008 for Sweets and Desserts! A Journey Through Midwest Traditions.


We envision GMFA as a locus for regional food and cultural history. We will sponsor research, then share our results via publications, internet and programming. We plan to have regional symposiums to bring attention to the various attract.


How do you  plan to make your programs available to a wide, diverse community?

Ultimately we invite anyone to the table who has an interest in Midwest food culture or who define themselves as Midwestern regardless of race, creed or arbitrary political borders. We encourage participation from all walks life from academics to food enthusiasts, chefs to grill masters to home cooks, farmers to heirloom gardeners, food scientists, students and industry. Our regional meetings will be designed for cultural diversity and outreach.




Bruce Kraig, President with a Ph.D. in History and Archaeology, Dr. Kraig is Professor Emeritus at Roosevelt University, Chicago and currently adjunct faculty at Kendall College. As an international recognized food historian, appearing in PBS food documentaries. He is an expert on hot dog history after a presentation at Oxford University, England.   Bruce is founding President of Culinary Historians of Chicago.


Catherine Lambrecht, Vice President  Catherine is program chair of Chicago Foodways Roundtable.  A founder and moderator of LTHforum.com culinary chat site.  She is ex-Presidents of Illinois Mycological Society and  Highland Park Historical Society. She was Vice Chair of Advisory Council for University of Illinois Extension at Grayslake and ex-Vice President of the Lake County Extension Foundation. 


Geraldine “Gerry”  Rounds,  Secretary
B.S.;  M. Ed Curriculum & Instruction; CAS Ed Leadership. Educational consultant and award-winning educator, recently  Instructional Coordinator, for Career & Technical Education,  NCUSD 203,  Naperville; adjunct Benedictine University and College of DuPage; 15 years experience teaching foods/ nutrition, receiving USDA Team Nutrition grant.  Curriculum work includes writing for Hidden Korea ; Food for the Ancestors. NEAA HMOW advisory board., member AIMS; ASCD; Culinary Historians.


Jeanne Zasadil, Treasurer is a Master Gardner, Master Food Preserver, Tailor and Culinary Historian. She belongs to Nineteenth Century Club, Chicago Archaeological Society, Wild Flower Preservation Society and Treekeepers. Jeanne worked producing caviar at Collin’s Caviar. Public relations for hotel restaurant institutional market. Food editor at Vend magazine. Editor at Food Business Magazine.


Wanda Bain, BS, Roosevelt University, Chicago, is a columnist for the Schaumburg Review and a public relations advocate for several NFP organizations. For more than a decade, she worked in the Daily Herald's marketing department, and recently retired as Director of Tourism for the Greater Woodfield Convention and Visitors Bureau. She was chairman of CHC's 10th Anniversary event.  


Patty Erd is a 2nd generation spice merchant and co-owner of The Spice House, which received Evanston’s Small Business of the Year award. Selected to serve as national spice expert on The Food Network, NPR radio, PBS television.  Member of the IACP, Les Dames d’Escoffier, American Spice Trade Association. Winner of the prestigious Good Eating award from The Chicago Tribune.


Eleanor Hanson is co-founder of FoodWatch, specializing in trend identification and analysis, and had been with Kraft Foods as Manager of Grocery Products and later as Director of their Kraft Kitchens. She has a B.S. in Foods & Nutrition, an MBA from Northwestern University and is on the boards of Les Dames d' Escoffier and the Children’s Memorial Guild.


Christopher Koetke CEC, CCE, MBA is Vice President Laureate International Universities, Center of Excellence in Culinary Arts.  He was Dean of the School of Culinary Arts at Kendall College from 2005 until 2011.  He is an expert on the art of sausage, having taught classes on this subject over the last 10 years.  Originally from Indiana, he is passionate about celebrating and preserving Midwestern culinary traditions. 



Founding Board


Wanda Bain, Christopher Koetke, Bruce Kraig, Catherine Lambrecht, Kantha Shelke and Jeanne Zasadil