Culture Around the CIty:

Stay up to date on the Chicago Cultural Alliance and its members, Chicago's Cultural Heritage Museums & Centers

Open House Chicago Program: Stories of Im/Migration


Stories of Im/Migration – Sites of Unity highlights the voices, memories, and stories of several Chicago Cultural Alliance Core Members and community stakeholders in Chicago as they reflect upon their cultural stories of im/migration and the local sites where their community has gathered, then and now, as they have made this place their home.

Their stories celebrate the hyphenated-American communities that they have built here and the impact they have had on the fabric of our city. They also reveal the profound effects of racism, xenophobia, and bigotry as well as moments of perseverance and pride. Key to this conversation is the term im/migration, which has come to envelop a more inclusive and equitable understanding of the many paths all people have taken to arrive where they are today—whether they were always here, such as First Peoples, immigrated from another place of their own volition, or were forcibly estranged from a former homeland as a product of chattel slavery, a byproduct of war, or imperialism.

This program will highlight sites we may not be aware of in our own neighborhoods and will take the form of a 60-minute panel discussion richly illustrated with photographs from several Chicago Cultural Alliance Core Members’ archives, including maps of where associated sites are located in Chicago neighborhoods. Panelists will feature photographs of one or several significant community sites in the Chicago area accompanied by their own personal stories associated with their community’s im/migration to Chicago. After individual stories are shared, the panel will convene and discuss commonalities, or differences in experience, and consider Chicago’s great places of unity.

For more information about this program contact Andrew Leith: [email protected]

The Arts Resilience Archives supported by Illinois Humanities


Chicago Cultural Alliance is pleased to announce to our members and supporters that we were approved for the Illinois Humanities 2020 Community Resilience Grant!

The goal of this grant category is to support organizations in using the humanities to make visible the experiences of residents during the COVID-19 pandemic and highlight stories of community resiliency throughout the state.

The Community Resilience grant presents a significant opportunity which enables the Alliance to work with new tools and materials generated by StoryCorps Chicago, to engage our Members in order to create an oral history archive specifically collecting, documenting, and sharing museum and arts professionals’ first-hand responses to COVID-19 and the ensuing crisis. Working with Amy Tardif at Story Corps, we are able to utilize two specific free community archives methods, including StoryCorps Connect and Virtual.

This program, Arts Resilience Archives, will comprise of an initial collection of 20-30 oral histories spanning a broad range of arts and museum professionals, diverse cultural groups. Freelance editors will edit approximately 4 select interviews for a workshop and listening event in October to share impact and take-away points. The arts community will be able to freely access and contribute to these archives in the future for uses such as building solidarity, networking, and healing, as well as long-term planning and cultivating emergency response preparations.

We are more than excited to have received this grant and for the opportunity to put the Arts Resilience Archives in motion!

For more information about the program, contact Andrew Leith: [email protected]

 

Peter’s Arroz con Gandules

Peter Vega, Executive Director Chicago Cultural Alliance


Taste from Home is a collection of recipes and stories can be used as a way to connect with others and facilitate conversations about race, culture, and identity over a new recipe. Make a cultural dish and sit down with family and friends and have a discussion of the culture it represents.  Please consider making a tax-deductible donation today, if you are able. If you are unable to donate, you can still participate by sharing a recipe by using hashtags #tastefromhome, #tastefromhomerecipe, & #chicagocultural on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.


 

Since we’re all spending more time at home, I hope the recipes and stories we’re sharing through Taste From Home bring us closer to our families and friends. I’ve shared a recipe for arroz con gandules, Puerto Rican rice, and pigeon peas. As I wrote this, I remembered my grandfather grew his own gandules in Florida. It’s wonderful how food can bring up memories. Don’t you love the moments when you are eating a dish and with a first bite a flood of memories come back? I had this moment at Nellie’s Restaurant in Humboldt Park not long ago. I ate a delicious pernil, roast pork, and I was brought to tears because I immediately thought about my dad who passed away just last year. The moment was painful but wonderful at the same time. 

My dad was such a wonderful cook. I learned a lot of cooking from my family but I could never cook like my dad. No one can. However, I made it a point to make more Puerto Rican food at home in honor of my dad so I don’t lose the delicious recipes.

I grew up in New York City in the Bronx. Puerto Rican bodegas and restaurants were on every corner.  Moving to Chicago’s made it a bit more challenging to find Puerto Rican food in neighborhoods outside of Humboldt Park. I make due though. Over the past 7 years, I’ve enjoyed exploring my Puerto Rican culture in the kitchen. I’m grateful that the move required me to do so. 

The Goya boycott makes finding ingredients for my family’s recipes difficult. Consumer activism, choosing what we purchase in support of more ethical business practices, does make an impact when we live in a world where capitalism reigns supreme. However, I also want to recognize the increase in “cancel” culture and it’s toxicity. It is very easy to “cancel” a brand, company, celebrity, or politician. It’s important for us to also have more courageous conversations and think deeper about how our decisions affect everyone.

Goya has over 4000 employees throughout the US, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Spain. When we “cancel” a company, we’re also taking a risk in people losing their jobs. Let’s not forget about those people and think collectively about how we can support those who may suffer from job loss. 

I’ll definitely miss aspects of the Goya brand. I’ve come to the realization boycotting Goya makes me miss the visual representation of my culture in small ways. In New York, I walked into any grocery store or bodega and Goya was everywhere! In Chicago, it is much harder to find when you walk into Mariano’s, Jewel, and don’t get me started on Whole Foods. My local grocery store, Edgewater Produce, reminds me of New York City’s bodegas. Here, I can find all the brands and options I need for my family dishes. I know other cultures can relate to this as well. We have Asian, African, and Indian all over Chicago. Most sell products that can’t be found at “mainstream” grocery stores.  When I walk into a place that has Goya products, I feel seen. I feel like I belong. I feel like I’m at home.

Now, I am not saying I will continue to buy Goya products. I’ll do my work to find the ingredients I need to make my family recipes. It won’t be an easy task though. Edgewater Produce is small and options are still limited. It’s important to remember that choice is a privilege. Not everyone will have the option to find other ingredients or explore other grocery stores. When we “cancel” and move on, let’s not forget about the people who don’t have that same privilege to do so.

Taste From Home has given me, and I hope others, an opportunity to talk to their families about recipes that open conversations to many other topics. It also provided me with the opportunity to explore new cultural recipes. I’ve never cooked lentils at home until I made the delicious Turkish Lentil Soup recipe shared by one of our Board Members, Suzanne Franklin. We want Taste From Home to help facilitate conversations about race, culture, and identity. With all the challenges we’re facing today, food may be a simplified way to understand other cultures. It’s definitely not the only way, but food and family recipes are things we can all relate to. When the world is so complicated, it’s refreshing to remind ourselves about the simple things, like my family’s delicious arroz con gandules.

National Indo-American Museum’s Mint Chutney

National Indo-American Museum 


Taste from Home is a collection of recipes and stories can be used as a way to connect with others and facilitate conversations about race, culture, and identity over a new recipe. Make a cultural dish and sit down with family and friends and have a discussion of the culture it represents.  Please consider making a tax-deductible donation today, if you are able. If you are unable to donate, you can still participate by sharing a recipe by using hashtags #tastefromhome, #tastefromhomerecipe, & #chicagocultural on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.


 

“The National Indo-American Museum builds bridges across generations and connects cultures through the diverse, colorful stories of all Indian Americans. Their highly successful Taste of India program provides an insider’s tour of Devon Avenue’s ethnic marketplace. These recipes come from one of their partner restaurants: ROOH Chicago “

 
Mint Chutney

Ingredients

Blend Together
• Mint Leaves 1/4cup
• Cilantro Leaves 1 cup
• Garlic Peeled 2 tsp
• Ginger Peeled 5 tsp

• Green Chili 1 seedless
• Lemon Juice- 1 3/4 tsp
• Ice Cubes 2 to 3 ice cubes

Add in Post Blending
• Yogurt 1/2 cup
• Salt 3/4 tsp
• Roasted Cumin Powde 1/2 tsp

• Chat Masala- 1 tsp
• Sugar- 1 tsp
• Black Salt 1/2 tsp

Method
• Wash and pat dry mint and cilantro.
• In a blender add in all the ingredients to be blended together.
• Blend till a fine puree, pour it in a mixing bowl.
• Add in rest of the ingredients and taste for seasoning.

Linda’s Oxtail Soup

Linda’s Oxtail SOup, Supporter of the Chicago Cultural Alliance


Taste from Home is a collection of recipes and stories can be used as a way to connect with others and facilitate conversations about race, culture, and identity over a new recipe. Make a cultural dish and sit down with family and friends and have a discussion of the culture it represents.  Please consider making a tax-deductible donation today, if you are able. If you are unable to donate, you can still participate by sharing a recipe by using hashtags #tastefromhome, #tastefromhomerecipe, & #chicagocultural on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

“This is a food that I grew up with on the family farm in Rosedale, IN. My Mom would start it cooking on the stove in the morning and it would cook all day. The smell slowly filling the whole house until it was time to eat it. It smelled so delicious.”

Measurements are approximate

2 lbs oxtail bones

3 quarts water

1 onion, chopped

4 to 6 stalks celery, chopped

 Put in large pot, with a sprinkle of both salt and pepper.  Cover.  Cook over low heat ( should only lightly simmer) on stove for 4 to 6 hours, until meat is very tender and easily removed from the bones.  Remove meat to a separate container and cool slightly, until it can be handled.  Remove the bits of meat from the bones and return to the pot.  Discard bones, fat and gristle.  At this point this can be frozen for later, or chilled over night and the fat skimmed off.  When ready to use, reheat slowly until boiling. 

Add:

1 1/2 cups diced potatoes

1 1/2 cups diced carrots

2 cups tomato juice

Return to boiling.  Add:

1/2 cup frozen peas

1/2 cup frozen corn

1/2 cup diced turnip or

 1 cup chopped cabbage

1 to 2 cups dried wide egg noodles (optional)

Return to boiling and cook until noodles are cooked, about 10 minutes.  Serve hot.

Mai’s Mutabal Kousa Dip

Mai Kakish, Food Blogger for almondandfig.com


Taste from Home is a collection of recipes and stories can be used as a way to connect with others and facilitate conversations about race, culture, and identity over a new recipe. Make a cultural dish and sit down with family and friends and have a discussion of the culture it represents.  Please consider making a tax-deductible donation today, if you are able. If you are unable to donate, you can still participate by sharing a recipe by using hashtags #tastefromhome, #tastefromhomerecipe, & #chicagocultural on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.


 

Mutabal Kousa:

A Summer cooling salad with fire-charred zucchini, mint, and yogurt from my grandmother’s kitchen

A recipe by Mai @almondandfig

www.almondandfig.com

Since my trip to go home to Palestine to visit my family was canceled this summer. I found myself cooking dishes that evoke my senses. These summer dishes are an account of memories that dance through my childhood and the summers spent with my family in Palestine. The fresh herbs my mother’s plants, the seasonal vegetables, and the tree-ripened fruit in my grandparent’s garden. The rhythmic beat of teta’s (grandmother) mortar and pestle pounding this mutabal. These are the type of things that evoke more than just memories, they excite my imagination and fill my senses with possibilities. So this summer when Palestine seems in the far distance you will find me cooking from home, the summer dishes that my grandmothers and mother make.

Summer lunch at my grandmother’s house was often filled with dishes like this one. Teta always cooked with whatever is in season.  She would be happy eating a bowl of this mutabal with charred crispy bread (that’s how she likes it), olives and sliced tomatoes.

Mutabal in Arabic means “seasoned.” It often refers to these delicious creamy salads or sides that are often mixed with tahini, yogurt or the combination of both.  My teta’s cooling mutabal with charred kousa, creamy yogurt and mint is perfect in the summer with grilled meats, part of a mezze plate, served with pita bread and other crisp veggies.

Ruben’s Filipino Pancit

Ruben Salazar, Executive Director Filipino American Historical Society of Chicago


Taste from Home is a collection of recipes and stories can be used as a way to connect with others and facilitate conversations about race, culture, and identity over a new recipe. Make a cultural dish and sit down with family and friends and have a discussion of the culture it represents.  Please consider making a tax-deductible donation today, if you are able. If you are unable to donate, you can still participate by sharing a recipe by using hashtags #tastefromhome, #tastefromhomerecipe, & #chicagocultural on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.


 

The Filipino American Historical Society of Chicago(FAHSC) is a cultural institution whose mission is to collect, record and preserve artifacts and documents of history of the Filipino Americans of metropolitan Chicago; and to educate about Filipino American history and Philippine heritage.

These dishes are from the PhilippinesI selected 3 of the most popular dishes that complete a typical combination for lunch or dinner – lumpia appetizer, pansit as the main entrée and halo-halo for dessert.

During the pandemic, I learned to prepare and cook these favorite dishes following the instructions that were shared with us by the chefs from restaurants that are partners of FAHSC and sponsors of Piyesta Pinoy. In support of social distancing measures, the annual outdoor festival had to be canceled. In its place, we hosted an online event that featured the cooking demos which are explained below.

I am happy to share the cooking demos of the Filipino food with you below. I am not a cook but I tried my best to follow the instructions and learned new skills. The food turned out to be delicious. If I was able to do it, I’m sure that you can do it too. Enjoy

Let’s start with the appetizer: Lumpia!

“Lumpia” is the Filipino version of the egg rolls. This recipe is courtesy of Chef Kathy Vega Hardy, owner of the A Taste of the Philippines, started as a food truck from Denver Colorado, moved to Chicago serving food at various farmer’s market and soon to open its own food stall at the French Market in downtown Chicago.

“Lumpia” can be served as a side dish or as an appetizer. It can be vegetarian made with locally grown vegetables or prepared with vegetables and meat, usually ground pork or chicken.

Next is the main dish: Pansit!

Traditionally, Pancit is a Filipino dish that is a must-have for Birthday Celebrations as it represents long life. This recipe is courtesy of Chef Garnett from the Mora Asian Kitchen. Pansit is a traditional Filipino dish that is always requested always present in every Filipino occasions such as fiestas, picnics, pot-luck parties, and every holiday celebrations. It is a must-have dish for Birthday Celebrations as it represents long life. It is also always served in after mass receptions during the 9-day Simbang Gabi religious tradition.

And finally….dessert: Halo Halo!

Halo-halo (Tagalog for “mix-mix”) is a popular Filipino cold dessert which is a concoction of crushed ice, evaporated milk and various ingredients including, among others, ube, sweetened beans, coconut strips, sago, gulaman (seaweed gelatin), pinipig rice, boiled root crops in cubes, fruit slices, flan, and topped with a scoop of ice cream. This recipe is courtesy of Chef Matthew Alfaro and Sous Alexa Alfaro, co-founders of  @Meat on the Street, A Filipino food stall and food truck in downtown Milwaukee, WI. Food truck services Madison to IL. Filipino food being served parallels what you have at a Filipino party or in a lola’s (grandma’s) kitchen.

“Halo-halo” can be served as a dessert item after the main entree for lunch or dinner or as a refreshing cold drink anytime of the day very popular during the hot summer days.  It can be made with locally grown fruits or prepared with canned or bottled fruits prepared and preserved with sweeteners.

Alaka’s Saffron Cheesecake

Alaka Wali, Founder of the Chicago Cultural Alliance


Taste from Home is a collection of recipes and stories can be used as a way to connect with others and facilitate conversations about race, culture, and identity over a new recipe. Make a cultural dish and sit down with family and friends and have a discussion of the culture it represents.  Please consider making a tax-deductible donation today, if you are able. If you are unable to donate, you can still participate by sharing a recipe by using hashtags #tastefromhome, #tastefromhomerecipe, & #chicagocultural on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

This recipe was invented by Kashi Wali, my Mother, soon after she came from India to the United States.  She and her husband loved to entertain friends and colleagues, and it occurred to her that putting a new twist on a standard American desert would please her guests.  She used the Joy of Cooking recipe for “cheesecake cockaigne”  and added an “Indian” flavor to it by using two very special spices—cardamom and saffron.  Both of these spices are used in India for very special sweet dishes,  such as Shrikand,  a creamy sweet yoghurt desert. When I was in college and lived in a coop, I made the cheesecake for my dorm mates, and they gave it an award! Ever since, whenever I entertain guests and want to do something special, I make this cheesecake.  Now, I share this recipe with my children and with all of you!

Video made by Monona Wali.

Zainab Khan’s Persian Khoresh

Zainab Khan, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Muslim American Leadership Alliance


Taste from Home is a collection of recipes and stories can be used as a way to connect with others and facilitate conversations about race, culture, and identity over a new recipe. Make a cultural dish and sit down with family and friends and have a discussion of the culture it represents.  Please consider making a tax-deductible donation today, if you are able. If you are unable to donate, you can still participate by sharing a recipe by using hashtags #tastefromhome, #tastefromhomerecipe, & #chicagocultural on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.


 

MALA (Muslim American Leadership Alliance)is an arts and culture organization committed to amplifying and celebrating the voices and perspectives of American Muslims through the art of oral history and digital storytelling. MALA works to build vibrant and dynamic communities and inclusive spaces for cultural exchange and community dialogue. This family recipe is provided by Zainab Khan, MALA’s Co-founder and Executive Director.

Khoresh, (sometimes spelled khoresht) or stew, is a mainstay of Persian cuisine. While khoresh bademjan, or eggplant stew, often includes meat, it’s a recipe well suited to vegetarian adaptations. This vegan version makes a delicious main dish served over plain steamed rice or crusty tahdig (crispy persian rice). For a less traditional take, serve it over quinoa or couscous. If you’re not concerned about keeping things vegan, a dollop of yogurt herb sauce is a tasty topper to this meal.

I love this dish because its ingredients are so universal, and it can take on so many different flavors.  When I was a child growing up outside of Chicago, my father used to make Khoresh Bademjan for us.  Today, I make the same dish for my son and although my recipe is slightly different, it still feels like I’m carrying on a tradition.  In many ways, I love this dish for its practicality: it’s inexpensive to make, it has a very flexible flavor profile, and it’s really nutritious as well.  My two-year-old even loves it!  Khoresh Bademjan will forever be special food for me, both for its personal value and for its cross-cultural value as well.

Kladdkaka (Swedish sticky chocolate cake)

Recipes from The Swedish American Museum


Taste from Home is a collection of recipes and stories can be used as a way to connect with others and facilitate conversations about race, culture, and identity over a new recipe. Make a cultural dish and sit down with family and friends and have a discussion of the culture it represents.  Please consider making a tax-deductible donation today, if you are able. If you are unable to donate, you can still participate by sharing a recipe by using hashtags #tastefromhome, #tastefromhomerecipe, & #chicagocultural on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.


 

The Swedish American Museum has been active for over 40 years in the heart of Andersonville, a traditionally Swedish area on the north side of Chicago. Andersonville, the “Little Sweden” of Chicago, is one of the most concentrated areas of Swedish heritage in the United States, with Swedish roots dating back to the 19th century. Tourists visit the area continually to sample Swedish food, buy gifts, visit the Museum, and partake in traditional Swedish holidays such as Midsommar and Julmiddag.

Through its arts and educational programs and its permanent collection, the Swedish American Museum interprets the immigrant experience for children and adults and promotes an appreciation of contemporary Swedish-American culture.

Probably the two most common recipes of those are the chocolate balls (Chokladbollar) and the sticky chocolate cake (Kladdkaka). Because they are both super easy to make they are staples in the Swedish household, much like chocolate chip cookies and brownies here in the US.

Chocolate balls or Chokladbollar is probably the first thing that every Swedish child learns to “bake”. Since it requires no baking time and using of hands is required, most children (and parents) love this recipe. In this video, Cyrus and Angelina will teach you how to make these simple, yet delicious treats. Angelina and Cyrus were born in the U.S. to Swedish/Iranian/British parents and all three cultures are celebrated in the home

Swedish Sticky Chocolate Cake or Kladdkaka can be compared to a brownie, but there is one important difference. The kladdkaka does not use a raising agent and is therefore more dense and as you can tell by the name, it is still sticky. People vary the stickiness depending on taste. It is usually served in wedges with a dollop of fresh whipped cream on top.