Midwest Eats! Foodways of the Great Depression

Midwest Eats!
Foodways of the Great Depression

SAVE THE DATE – APRIL 29, 30 & MAY 1, 2011
Kendall College, Chicago, Illinois

Podcast of all programs

Registration now open!

Program Information

Speaker Biographies

Maxwell St. History and Tour

Wood fire cooking class



This three-day event begins on Friday, April 29 with a panel discussion on events leading to the Great Depression of 1929-1941: Dust bowl, farming crisis and urban conditions.  After a break, food writer and film historian Michael Gebert will lead a discussion by showing film and newsreel clips illustrating food and cultural conditions.   Dinner will feature a replication of a “Relief Banquet” from May 7th, 1938.  The ingredients will reflect 8 cents of ingredients for a “Typical Chicago Family Relief Budget,” with culinary students interpreting this meal.

The main event is on Saturday, April 30th from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Kendall College where Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance will host a symposium featuring topics on life, culture and foodways during the Great Depression during the morning.  After lunch, personal stories of how people survived in the city and rural areas.

Refreshments will be offered throughout the day.  Lunch will feature a 1930’s menu featuring foodstuffs originating during the Depression.  It will illustrate how imaginative home cooks, thriving food companies and resourceful restaurants survived by s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g food costs through those trying times.

On Sunday, May 1st there are three optional tours: Victoria Matranga, Curator of Kendall College’s Culinary Curiosities, will personally guide visitors through their antique food production equipment.  Chicago Public Radio’s David Hammond and Bruce Kraig will lead an expedition through Chicago’s Maxwell Street Market, in operation since the late nineteenth century and now a well-recognized source for some of the tastiest Mexican street food in the United States.  Primrose dairy farm in St. Charles is a living history museum circa 1933.  A small group will cook lunch at a wood fired stove in a kitchen building with a hand pump for water and a radio run by a car battery.

Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance welcomes 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.

Registration opens on March 1st, though members will receive advance notice.  Visit  www.greatermidwestfoodways.com for updates and information for planning your visit to Chicago.

Don’t miss this fourth symposium by Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance that celebrates,  preserves and promotes the diverse food cultures of the American Midwest from the Great Lakes to the Great Plains.