Randy Adamsick, Board Member, 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. 

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When my grandparents arrived in Pilsen from Rabca, Slovakia around 1900, they brought little with them except their desire for a better life, work ethic, and many Old World traditions. Among our culinary staples like goulash, stuffed cabbage, pork with sauerkraut, was our favorite on a cold Chicago night, Chicken Paprikash.  Ours was the “peasant” soup version of Paprikash, because it went much further (especially when loaded with dumplings) for Andrej and Maria’s family of seven.  This included my dad who was orphaned with his siblings by the time he was 16.  Our block of 24th St. was filled with sounds and smells and crazy characters who all seemed to have nicknames: “Pappy, K-Boy, Uncle Fat, Kiki, Copsy, and my dad, “Blackie.”  We never ate Paprikash without a big crowd around the table, drinking beer, telling stories, and complaining about the White Sox. 

In the 1970s, when my family moved out of the neighborhood, I missed what I didn’t know I had: an identity that went back generations to Slovakia, the homeland that I finally visited in 1997, nearly 100 years after the Adamcik arrival at Ellis Island. 

Chicago neighborhoods are full of such stories, and preserving these stories is the mission of a unique, only-in-Chicago non-profit, the Chicago Cultural Alliance.

Please support the Alliance with a gift to our Taste From Home Campaign. 

The recipe is in the link. A donation is not required to view the recipe. Any donations made will support the Chicago Cultural Alliance’s mission to promote, support, and connect museums and centers of cultural heritage for a more inclusive and equitable Chicago.