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Saturday, December 14

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Gardening Thu Nov 06 2014

Autism Finds A New Solution in Local Urban Garden

JMTF Growing Solutions Farm.jpg On a movie theater project he oversaw years ago, Alan Lake experienced first-hand what the kitchen could do to someone with autism and other developmental disorders.

"A state agency approached me to employ several candidates. We hired a couple of young adults and the training culminated with a week of having a representative from the agency attending as liaison before leaving anyone on their own," said Lake, a local chef and fellow Drive-Thru writer. "They were very upfront in telling us what we could or could not expect in our new charges, both in behavior and abilities."

Two workers became ticket takers, others answered phones or ran errands around the facility. One with Aspergers Syndrome, whose social skills Lake noted left something to be desired, loved watching the Food Network and wanted to work in the kitchen. Lake put him in the pantry where his job was to take inventory of numerous items on a prep sheet and prep and plate whatever was needed.

"He started slow but blossomed shortly after his minders left," said Lake. "Within months he was cha-chaing to the music I played in the kitchen and even going out with the staff on occasion.  Months later, though not the life of the party, he'd pretty much extracted himself from his shell and was very much a regular guy."

Lake says agency reps came back saying they couldn't believe what progress he'd made, and that he was like the poster boy for the program -- never figuring he'd function as highly as he did.

"I don't know if they were being conservative in estimating his abilities or if he just rose to the occasion because I needed him to, as often happens in a restaurant."

As parents of an autistic son, Chicagoan's Julie and Michael Tracy know the impact of autism and understand the gap in the system between childhood and adulthood.

Continue reading this entry »

Brandy Gonsoulin

Event Fri Mar 14 2014

Chicago Flower & Garden Show Returns With Garden Gourmet Series on the Menu

The Chicago Flower & Garden Show, whose roots can be traced back to 1847, returns to Navy Pier, Saturday, March 15 - Sunday, March 23. Its annual Garden Gourmet Series features some of Chicago's most popular chefs preparing recipes with fresh-from-the-garden ingredients.

Chef Bill Kim.jpgAs one of Mariano's Chicago Tastemakers chefs, Chef Bill Kim of bellyQ, Belly Shack and urbanbelly will kick off this year's program. Mariano's is the Garden Gourmet sponsor, as well as the presenting sponsor for the entire Chicago Flower & Garden Show.

Over 2 dozen Chicago chefs will share recipes and cooking tips during live 45- to 60-minute cooking demonstrations, as well as suggestions for growing and using sustainable foods.

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Harvey Morris

Gardening Wed May 15 2013

Should You Grow Vegetables in Chicago Soil?

garden wallRecently I caught the green thumb. There is something so rewarding about growing your own plants. Germinating the seed, watching the fruition of life day-by-day, and then devouring the fruits of your labor. I decided to use the space in my new backyard to grow a humble vegetable garden. I ordered some organic seeds and began the process. As my babies grew and demanded a bigger space for their roots to spread out , I began to dig up my patch of dirt and check out the soil.


It looked like a family picnic was buried in my yard. I pulled out a small action figure, a broken plate, a tennis ball, piece of a Frisbee, shards of beer bottles, bricks and countless rocks. After talking to a gentleman with some knowledge on the subject at a local grow store and realizing my soil was battling the elements, I had some doubts if I wanted to even grow my plants in the ground.

Continue reading this entry »

Joey Delisi / Comments (5)

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
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Drive-Thru is the food and drink section of Gapers Block, covering the city's vibrant dining, drinking and cooking scene. More...
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