July 8th Summer Jam-Off Event

Preserving fruits and vegetables is the surest way to be able to eat locally and sustainably throughout the year. At the "Hull-House Kitchen Preservation Fundraiser" on July 8 during Re-thinking Soup, chefs and food preservationists will donate jars of their preserved fruits and jams. Attendees at the day's soup conversation will be the judge of whose preserves are the tastiest. Jars will be auctioned off to raise funds for future meetings of the Re-thinking Soup series.

**July 8th will be the last Re-thinking Soup before the summer hiatus. Hull-House Kitchen will briefly close its doors to evaluate the program and test out new recipes. Please join us when we reopen our doors and serve more healthy soup on Tuesday AUGUST 19 at noon. Please give us your feedback and comments about your experiences at Rethinking Soup so that we can plan, scheme, and devise new ways of opening the table and the conversation to new ideas and new people.**

Hull-House Kitchen: Rethinking Soup

Please bring your hunger for free soup and conversation every tuesday. Hull-House Kitchen: Rethinking Soup is a communal event where we will eat delicious, healthy, soup and have fresh, organic conversation about many of the urgent social, cultural, economic and environmental food issues that we should be addressing. We will meet in the historic Residents' Dining Hall, where Upton Sinclair, Ida B. Wells, W.E.B.Duboise, Gertrude Stein and other important social reformers met to share meals and ideas, debate one another and conspire to change the world.

Activists, farmers, doctors, economists, artists, and guest chefs will join us each week to present their ideas and projects. In the tradition of the Hull-House Settlement's commitment to free speech and Chicago's Bug House Square, the third tuesday of every month will feature a "Soup Soap Box." Anyone and everyone is invited to take the stage for 2 minutes each to share their projects, opinions, and visions for the future of food.

Hull-House Kitchen: Re-thinking Soup
Every Tuesday, 12-1:30pm
Jane Addams Hull-House Museum
Residents' Dining Hall
800 South Halsted

(donations from $.01 to $1,000,000 gladly accepted)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Soup Soap Box Continued

Everyone was invited to take the stage for 2 minutes each to share their projects, opinions, and visions for the future of food.
In case you couldn't attend or have more to contribute...
We would like to continue the discussions with our blog.

We can still serve as an official Listening Session for the Governor's Task Force, appointed as a result of the Illinois Food, Farms, and Jobs Act. All Recomendations from the Task Force will be considered by the Illinois General Assembly in 2009. Please post your thoughts...

Soup Soap Box

Welcome to the Hull House Kitchen. My name is Sam Kass; I am the executive chef of the Museum. I thank everyone for coming. A quick thank you Yoni Levy who is responsible for many of the ideas and the energy that produces our soup. To Tara Lane for her brilliance, and the Hull House staff for all their hard work.

In this room dinned many visionaries who shaped the world in which we live. Upton Sinclair ate here daily as he wrote the Jungle. John Dewy came here as he developed his theories of education. W.E.B. Dubois, Eleanor Roosevelt, Ida B Wells, Gertrude Stein, Frank Lloyd Wright along with 9,000 people from the surrounding communities and countless other came here to debate, discuss and seek a better world. It is in this tradition that we have our first Soup Soapbox! Every third Tuesday, we open the mic to all who wish to speak on the issues of our day as they relate to food. Every woman, man and child will have two minutes to share their vision of the future, and their ideas on how to get there.

Today’s soup is lentil, with collard greens from Green Acers Farm in Indiana, mustard greens and arugula from City Farms just down the road, and scallions from Nicoles Farm about an hour from the city.

What is the day we seek? We work towards a day when our children get the highest quality food we produce, and are not viewed as population to dispose of surplus. Towards a day where the who feed us are concerned about more than vast profit margins. Towards a day where what we eat fosters health, not disease. Towards that day where food helps to rebuild and bring together our communities, and is no longer used as a force of division. It is a day that can be expressed in many ways, but we all share a sense what is at its core.

Today is a testament to the fact we are on the way. There are countless people who have been working for years towards sustainability and health, long before weekly the New York Times articles about our food system and farmers markets dotting the cityscape. Many of those people are here; we owe them our tremendous gratitude.

The process that we are a part of today is a key step towards the realization of an essential element of the way forward: our politicians are beginning to lend their support. With much respect and admiration we thank chief sponsor of the Illinois Food Farms and Jobs Act Julie Hamos Jackie Collins and all who supported the bill for standing up and getting it signed into law, and I thank them ahead of time for all the future bills yet to be passed.

.2% of what is consumed in Illinois is grown in Illinois. The food that feeds our great state travels on average 1500 miles before we sit down to eat it. This system of feeding ourselves results in agriculture consuming 20% of the fossil fuel used in this country, equal to that of cars. Last year 21 million tons of fertilizer derived from fossil fuels were used in the U.S., over 2.1 million of it in Illinois. None of the alternative energy sources being explored from nuclear to wind power can fertilize our fields. With oil prices reaching record highs on a seemingly daily basis, we can no longer avoid the question of whether it is wise to continue to have our food market be deeply intertwined with the volatile and vulnerable energy market for much longer.

The use of the intense energy of fossil fuel has fed a society where 75% of Americans will be obese or overweight by 2015. We spend over 100 billion dollars a year to treat obesity related diseases, and our children are the fastest growing population developing health problems due to our food system. 12% of Americans are “food insecure” meaning they don’t know where the next meal will come from.

It is in this context that we understand the Food, Farms and Jobs Act as absolutely critical. We are thrilled to have two members of the task force Debbie Hillman and Jim Braun with us today to record our ideas and possible solutions and hand them over to State legislators with the goal to help build a local and organic food system in Illinois. Indeed, we can ill afford to continue to eat without holding our representatives responsible to help us reach the day we seek. Thank you for being here.

Food, Farms and Jobs. Three quotes from people who came before us, and then we can hear what the people of today have to say:

A Native American Proverb tells us:
When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money.

Thomas Jefferson
Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous, and they are tied to their country and wedded to its liberty and interests by the most lasting bands.

Benjamin Franklin
There seem to be but three ways for a nation to acquire wealth. The first is by war…this is robbery. The second by commerce, which is generally cheating. The third by agriculture, the only honest way, wherein a human being receives a real increase of the seed thrown into the ground, in a kind of continual miracle, wrought by the hand of God in his favor, as a reward for ones innocent life and ones virtuous industry.

We can draw on insights from the past, but the way forward is not a return to yesterday. All eyes forward, using the knowledge and technology handed down, we can innovate today and create the future we seek.

Again thank you all for being here, and lets hear what you have to say….

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Urban Agriculture

Today’s soup is chicken soup with grilled asparagus, white beans and green garlic. Although there are many interesting things to discuss about our other ingredients, I will focus my attention on the chicken. The chicken is the most common and widespread domesticated animal. With a world population of more than 24 billion in 2003, there are more chickens in the world than any other bird! In the U.S. there were nearly 9 billion chickens slaughtered in 2004. As a nation we spend 40 billion dollars a year on chicken, and eat 80 lbs of meat and 250 eggs per person a year.

How did we come to consuming so much, and relying so heavily on chicken in our diet?
Lets follow the chicken on its path from the forests of Asia to the to its hi perch atop the gold arches as the Chicken McNugget….

The modern chicken descended from the Malaysian Red Jungle Fowl, which was first domesticated over 3000 years ago by the Lapita peoples. In 12th century BCE the bird began to make it was around to world, first to Asia and then west to Europe.
Throughout history, the chicken took on a number of critical roles around the world. In Confucian Chinese Weddings for example, a chicken can be used as a substitute for a person who is seriously ill or not available to attend the ceremony. A red silk scarf is placed on the chicken's head and a close relative holds the chicken so the ceremony may proceed. This is still practiced, but is rare today.

The Romans used chickens for oracles. According to Cicero any bird could be used, but normally only chickens were consulted. A chicken’s cage would be open and the birds would be fed a special kind of soft cake. If the chickens stayed in their cage, made noises, beat their wings or flew away, the omen was bad; if they ate greedily, the omen was good.
In 249 BCE, the Roman general Publius had his chickens thrown overboard when they refused to feed before the battle of Drepana, saying, "If they won't eat, perhaps they will drink." He promptly lost the battle and 93 Roman ships were sunk. Back in Rome, he was tried for impiety and heavily fined.

The Talmud, an ancient Jewish text detailing ethics and law speaks of learning "courtesy toward one's mate" from the rooster. This might refer to the fact that when a rooster finds something good to eat, he calls his hens to eat first.

Chickens traditionally were mainly kept for their eggs; the meat was considered a bye product of egg production. Production in a large-scale manner was checked due to the fact that chickens did not do well in the winter because of lack sunlight reducing egg and meat production. The chicken was a seasonal animal. The 1922 discovery of vitamin D paved the path of modern chicken farming allowing us to keep chickens indoors year round. But chickens mostly resided on family farms until 1960, right around the time large scale industrialization of agriculture began to accelerate at astounding rates, and the chicken was not spared.
In the early “60’s, breeding and diet regiments for raising chickens began to improve, and more farmers began producing more chickens. The price dropped, and so farmers needed more chickens to gain a profit. Then of course, as happens in agriculture, the increased supply further decreased the price for chicken products and farmers had to get bigger and more efficient to stay afloat. Farms that kept on average 75 chickens in the 1900, and who’s each hen’s laid 83 eggs each a year have been transformed into hen houses that are home to a standard 125,000 hens each (some much bigger) and whose hen’s lay 300 eggs per year. A separate breed for meat was developed. These chickens were bread to grow extremely fast, but even so an organic or free-range chicken takes 14 weeks to slaughter, and industrial raised chicken only 6 weeks.

What has come of this? Well, chicken is now available to nearly everyone on our society. And this is no small feat that should be dismissed. Chicken and eggs were once a highly prized luxury good, and it is a great achievement that our poor have easy access to the glorious chicken.

We also took an animal, essential to a balanced self-supporting farm, out of the cycle. Chickens traditionally play essential roles in turning over earth and spreading manure, eating insects and fertilizing the soil. What was once a source of rich fertilizer has become a massive waste problem stemming from what could be understood as the ghettoization of the chicken.
We also lost a relationship with our food. The couple examples I gave of chicken’s role in society indicated that people until very recently have had a deep connection with what sustained them. Now, I don’t think we need to be looking to chickens for omens, but this detachment is at the root of why anyone would eat a chicken McNugget. A nugget is the product of the massive over production of chicken, as it is comprised of a “meat slurry” which takes chicken pieces of lower market value, turns them into a liquid with lots of salt and preservatives, then is battered and deep fried. No one who would let a chicken stand in at a wedding would have ever allowed a chicken to be consumed in such a way.

Life is a trade off, so what else did we get? Well to begin with we got the term “tastes like chicken.” This is a reference to the neutral read flavorlessness of industrial chicken. Our chicken has lost its flavor.

The chicken has now taken center stage in the urban agriculture movement in Chicago. As part of the growing movement, more and more people—particularly immigrant communities—are keeping chickens in their back yard. They supply their families with eggs and play a vital role in back yard gardens. The thought of this puts some off, and there is a proposed ban on having chickens within the city limits.

Please help me welcome our guest speakers to discuss the urban agriculture, what it means and what role this form of feeding ourselves will play in the future. Thank you. -Sam Kass

Hull-House Kitchen Rethinking Soup

Jane Addams understood that all the protest in the world would not be enough to bring about a more just world. She knew we also needed to have spaces to imagine, convene, argue, grapple with hard issues, and collectively envision the future of the common good. The Hull-House Settlement was this place for many immigrants, social reformers, writers and others who found a home in this radically democratic and inclusive public space.
As part of the first generation of American women to attend college, Jane Addams understood the importance of breaking boundaries and crossing borders- and she did this in numerous ways. She was a white person working in communities of color; a wealthy, privileged person addressing issues of poverty; and a woman who entered into the male-dominated and defined public sphere.
Hull-House also facilitated this kind of border-crossing for the communities of people who came through its doors. 9,000 immigrants a week came to Hull-House to participate in programs that included music, poetry, art, citizenship, sex education and literature classes, and also lectures and conversations about race, suffrage and economics. But the Hull-House Settlement fed more than their intellectual curiosity and the hunger for community- it also fed their bellies. The Hull-House Coffee House and the public kitchen operated from the 1890’s, and were spaces where people dined, communed, nourished, and sustained themselves and each other.
The Settlement buildings, designed by the architects Allen and Irving Pond, blurred the boundaries and confines of public and private spaces. These buildings contained a day care center, theaters, public baths, a public art gallery, private residences, community dining rooms, and a public kitchen.
The cooperative living structure disrupted the domestic space that made women’s work invisible and called into question the “women’s sphere” and “women’s work.” The Settlement house challenged the physical separation of household space from public space and the separation of the domestic economy from the political economy.
Hull-House history is a reminder that the public sphere is something that is and has always been historically constructed, creatively imagined, and the result of struggle.
The reform work that Hull-House engaged in, such as advocating for public housing and public health, working to end child labor and to shut-down sweat-shops, and establishing the juvenile justice court can be understood as forms of civic housekeeping. They extended the notion of home into the public sphere, demanding the State take responsibility for the basic needs of its people.
Hull-House reformers such as Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Florence Kelley and Julia Lathrop used the language and vision of domesticity as a framework for their social vision and for interpreting their unconventional lives and transgression from the norms.
Throughout history, the excluded have flipped the script and creatively used what has been narrowly prescribed to them as a weapon for taking hold of and grasping cultural apparatuses. The Hull-House reformers placed old forms of domesticity into new frameworks and changed their significance.
On May 6th at 12-1:30pm, to honor this legacy, the Museum will launch one of our most ambitious and curious public programs to date- the re-opening of the Hull-House Kitchen, where the soup and conversation are organic.
We are so excited to be working with executive chef Sam Kass, whom we affectionately refer to as our “Chef in Residence” and his colleague Yoni Levy. Skillfully, through bowls of hot, steaming Carrot-Ginger-Coconut Soup and cool and inspirational Spring Pea and Mint soup, they have awakened our hunger for a better and more just world.
-Lisa Yun Lee

An IneviTable Project
We believe that people have a stake in each other's health. This link is what binds us together as families, communities and a nation. Nowhere are we more powerfully bound together than in the daily cultivation and preparation of food. Within food lies vast untapped potential to uplift and connect people, to provide a medium for discourse, and an opportunity to taste our common humanity along with our differences. Jane Addams understood this.
As we seek openings to utilize the power of food, we find ourselves in a fight to salvage a food system that has been ravaged by an approach of quantity over quality, of short-term gain over long-term stability. Our sustenance is now inextricably dependent on fossil fuels. The massive injection of this energy into our food system over the past 40 years has doubled the world population, yet left a billion malnourished. Ironically, overabundance now plagues this country witnessed in the excess our community carries on its hips and thighs. Scientists predict that by in 2015, 75% of Americans will be overweight or obese. The next generation now faces the real possibility that they will live a shorter life than that of their parents. Although the ready availability of food is a great achievement, the industry our society has built around food is harmful and unsustainable. It threatens our health today, and imperils the legacy of improving health we wish to pass on.
We are thrilled by the possibility at the Hull-House Kitchen to bring together people from all walks of life, to share visions for the future inspired by lessons from the past. Over delicious soup made with ingredients from local sustainable farmers, we aim to cultivate an exploration into the reservoirs of transformative power yet to be utilized within our food.
-Sam Kass

Cauliflower Soup

1 large onions chopped
6 large shallots
(roasted at 450 degrees in hot oven until golden and tender)
3 cloves of garlic chopped
1 heaping Tablespoon of honey
1 large yukon gold potato
1 cup of dry sherry
2 heads of cauliflower chopped
1 bay leaf
1 pinch ground black pepper

1. Saute onions, shallots, garlic and honey.
2. Add Potatoes and deglaze with sherry.
3. Add Cauliflower,bay leaf, black pepper
and just enough water to cover. Cook until tender.
4. Puree and strain through chinoise
5. Season and serve!

Sweet Pea and Mint Soup

1 large spanish onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 pinch of thyme
1 Tablespoon of honey
1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
1 small bay leaf

2 qt. shucked english/sweet peas

1. Saute onions, garlic,bay leaf and thyme until tender
2. Puree then add honey and black pepper then chill
3. Blanch Peas until tender(2-3 minutes) in boiling water
and shock in an ice bath
4. Remove the peas from the ice bath and puree them with
just enough water to puree smooth.
5. Strain through china cap and mix with the onion base.
6. Adjust consitancy with cold water.
7. Add bacon lardons for extra deliciousness!
Along with mint leaves

Spicy Miso Vegetable Soup

1/2 cup onion
1/4 cup carrot
1/4 cup celery
1/4 cup ginger
1/4 cup spring garlic
1/2 cup shitake mushrooms

1/4 cup snap peas sliced
1/4 cup snow peas sliced
1/4 cup english peas
1/4 cup chinese broccoli chopped
1 bunch baby bok choy seperated
1/2 cup diced tofu firm
1 cup dark miso paste (rice fermented)
6 cups water
1 Tablespoon sambal oelek
1/2 bunch cilantro

1. In a food processor mix until finely chopped onion, celery, carrot, ginger, garlic, and shitake mushrooms. Do Not Puree!
2. Saute mixture over medium heat with vegetable oil until liquid has cooked out and mixture is tender. About 20 minutes.
3. Add water and bring to a light simmer, Do not boil.
4. Add miso paste to a seperate bowl
5. Then ladle 2 cups of hot broth liquid into miso paste, whisk until dissolved.
6. Add miso mixture back into soup broth.
Never bring to a boil!
7. Add veggies and sambal, cook until veggies reach desired tenderness.
8. Add cilantro, serve and enjoy!

Chicken Mushroom with Cavolo Nero

1/2 cup sliced onions
1/4 cup sliced garlic
3 cups chopped cavolo nero
1 1/2 cup quartered crimini mushrooms
2 cups chopped chicken pre cooked
1 cup pedro ximinez sherry
6 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
7 sprigs of thyme
1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1. Saute onions and garlic in olive oil until tender.
2. Add Cavolo Nero, saute until tender.
3. Add sherry and reduce by half.
4. Add mushrooms, chicken stock and sachet
5. Cook until Cavolo Nero starts to break down and fall apart.
6. Add chicken and simmer for 10 min.
7. Adjust salt, serve and enjoy.

Asparagus Soup with Green Garlic and Spring Onions

1/2 cup minced Ginger
1 cup Spring Onions
1/4 cup chopped Garlic cloves
2 cups White Wine
1 cup Lima Beans cooked
2 cups chopped Asparagus
7 cups Vegetable Stock
1 Sachet of:
2 sprigs Thyme
1 Bay Leaf
1 Ancho Chili
1 Tablespoon Peppercorn

Finish with:
1 small bunch chopped Basil
1 small bunch chopped Mint

1. Saute the Ginger, Onions, Garlic until tender.
2. Add White Wine and reduce by half the amount.
3. Add Stock and Sachet bring to a light simmer
4. Add Asparagus and cooked Lima Beans bring back to a simmer.
5. Add Fresh Basil and Mint.
6. Serve and Enjoy!

Recipe: Beef and Barley with Spring Vegetables

2c chopped onions
1/4c chopped garlic
1/2c sliced green garlic
1 heaping teaspoon tomato paste
2c red wine
2c hulled barley
4c diced beef (stew meat)
6c beef or chicken stock

1ea bay leaf
2sprigs thyme
1Tablespoon peppercorn
2sprigs parsley stems
salt and pepper

1. Sear meat on high heat and then remove the meat
from pan when barely cooked.
2. In the same pan, lower the heat and add the onions,
garlic and green garlic. Saute until light brown scraping the bottom
of the pan every time you stir.
3. Incorporate the tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes.
4. Add red wine and reduce by 3/4 amount.
5. Add the stock, meat, sachet and barley and lightly
simmer until barley and meat are tender.
6. Season with Salt and Pepper and serve!

Recipe: Lentil with Baby Collard Greens and Spring Scallions

Baby Collards from Green Acres Farm in Indiana
Scallions from Nichols Farm in Illinois.

2 cups chopped onions
¼ cup garlic
1 cup carrots
3 cups green lentils
8 cups water
1 cup white wine
½ cup sherry

Sachet of:
1 Tablespoon Toasted fennel
1 Bay leaf
1 sprig Thyme
Chili Flakes

To taste:
Salt and 3 Tablespoons Sherry Vinegar

1 cup spring scallions
1 cup baby collard greens
(You can add more if you want a heartier soup)

1. Sweat out onions, garlic for 5 min on medium heat
2. Add carrots, white wine, and sherry. Then reduce by half.
3. Add lentils, sachet, stir and add water.
4. Keep on medium high heat, stir often so lentils don’t stick to bottom of pan.
5. Slice greens, scallions and collards and add 10 min before serving.
6. Serve and Enjoy!

Recipe: Chicken Green Garlic Soup With Grilled Asperagus

2 large onions
6 cloves garlic
½ # green garlic bottoms sliced (reserve tops)
½ cup Maderia
8 cups chicken stock
4 cups cooked chicken pieces
1 cup grilled asparagus
1 cup sliced spinach
1 cup precooked white beans
1 sachet of thyme, crushed red pepper, black peppercorns, green garlic tops, bay leaf

1. Saute onions, garlic, and green garlic until tender.
2. Add Madeira and stir.
3. Then add chicken stock, cooked chicken pieces, the sachet, and white beans and bring to a simmer. Cook until flavors combine, add salt if needed.
4. To serve the soup, in a bowl add grilled asparagus and sliced spinach then ladle with a serving of soup.
5. Serve and Enjoy!

Recipe: Carrot Soup

2 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
2 Leeks chopped
1 cup Onion chopped
4 ea Cloves Garlic chopped
8 cups Carrots chopped
1 cup Dry Sherry
13 cups Water

Sachet of:
1 ea Ancho chili seeded
1 Tbsp Coriander
1 Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp peppercorns
5 ea Parsley stems fresh
5 ea Thyme stems fresh
1 Bay Leaf dried

1. First sweat the leeks, onions and garlic over medium heat until translucent (approx 10 minutes).
2. Add carrots and sherry, reducing sherry by half.
3. Then add sachet and water then cook on medium heat. Simmer until carrots are tender or fall off a fork (approx 20 min).
4. Remove the sachet.
5. Blend the contents in a blender, then pour through a mesh strainer.
6. Check for final Seasoning and adjust if needed.
6. Serve and Enjoy