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Tag Archives: Chicago
“What? Is that like, a cooking show or something?”
~The Average American Response to the Pan American Games
As roughly two of you already knew, this year saw the 17th Pan American Games take place in Toronto. 41 nations in the Americas competed, with America leading the way with 103 gold metals and 265 total metals. Many of you might not be familiar with the Pan American games, and that is because, like most red blooded Americans, you only can muster up enthusiasm for the Olympics, which is understandable. If you’re going to try to give a shit about track and field more often than once every four years, you’d better have just married a hot wife with a high school aged son from a previous marriage who you try to support in order to make him begrudgingly like and respect you (sorry, though, no matter how hard you try, he totally won’t).
For most American athletes, the Pan Am games are a way to clean up and snag a lot of metals when you only have to worry about going up against 2 of the 6 continents that field athletes competitively in international competitions. And for most Cubans, the Pan Am games are a way to defect the fuck out of Cuba. However, for a relatively inconsequential (as far as the typical American sports fan is concerned) competition, the history of the Pan Am games are both deeply interesting and kind of unintentionally hilarious. And never in the 64 years that this sporting event has been held has there been more unintentional hilarity as the first ever Pan American games to be hosted in the United States.
Because, holy shit, Chicago had no idea what it was getting itself into when it tried to plan an entire international competition in less than two years, and as a result, history will always have the wonderful train wreck that is…
The 1959 Chicago Pan American Games: The Most Hilarious International Competition Of All Time
How do Midwesterners ever live past 40? Are their hearts made out of Adamantium?”
~Non-Midwesterners Reading About Popular Midwestern Sandwiches
Another day, another discussion of sandwiches coming long after you’ve tossed up your hands and screamed, “AFFotD, listen, I get it, there are a lot of sandwiches out there, you don’t have to tell us about every damn one!” Well too late reader, by the time you’ve read this, they’ve all been written, and nothing can stop us from posting them, so you’re going to take your two more weeks of sandwich articles and like it!
Anyway, we’re moving on to the Midwest now in our regional portion of sandwich celebration. As stated in the first article of the series, there will be no discussion of hot dogs, and we’ve also covered regional favorites such as the Italian Beef (though we put that picture up there because, God, how good does that look right now?). But don’t worry, there will be plenty of unhealthy food items, even from Chicago despite our decision not to include literally every food they’re famous for, for you to stuff down your gullet before sobbingly calling your dietitian to apologize for cheating. Westward, ho!
American Sandwich Series: Lesser-Known Regional Sandwiches of America (Midwest Edition)
“Guys, you have to stop. Even I think this is starting to get out of hand.”
~AFFotD Editor-In-Chief, Johnny Roosevelt
Back in 2012, we sent our staff across the country to track down the most inventive Bloody Marys in America. The reasons behind this should be readily apparent. After all, Bloody Marys are delicious, they encourage day drinking, and they help take the edge off after especially rough visits from the weekend hangover doctor. We were able to find Bloodies that ranged from the decadent and extreme (garnished with ½ a pound of lobster, or with a ¼ of a bacon cheeseburger, for example) to strange and futuristic (Bloody Mary bites?) but all in all, looking back on it, the fact that “using pepper-infused tequila instead of vodka” was enough for us to consider it “crazy” and “cutting edge” is pretty cute. Oh how naive we once we, how innocent. That’s because those past few years have seen the Bloody Mary go from “happy morning drunk juice with some celery or pickles and maybe a hunk of sausage to nibble on while you drink” to “insane carnival concoction that, oh sure we guess this full meal on a stick is going to be precariously bobbing up and down in some tomato juice and booze, but honestly look we stuck a whole fucking slider on there now pay us $10.”
With “absurd Bloody Marys” officially becoming the latest arms race in American excess and awesomeness, we’ve decided to sort through the contenders for the most insane Bloody Marys in recent history if for no other reason than to show how far we’ve evolved since that moment two years ago where “a gin Bloody Mary garnished with shrimp” was something we reported about with breathless excitement, as opposed to now where we see such things and offer a jaded, “well, that’s a pretty tasty way to get drunk enough to make your Monday hard to get through.” Because why just get day drunk when you can get day drunk while playing a complex game of Jenga with dozens of skewered food stuffs?
America’s Newest Insane Bloody Marys
“Goddamn it, I knew Chicago would win. Those bastards.”
~The, like, four New Yorkers who actually were upset that the New York-style hot dog was so low on this list
When we began our trek through America’s regional hot dogs, we were legitimately worried. We had just finished writing about 11,000 words talking about long bread sandwiches, and it literally tore families apart and drove half of our staff to insanity. And we were going to immediately follow that nightmare up with a systematic breakdown of hot dog styles? Did we have a death wish outside of our normal “eating and drinking so much that interventions pretty much have become a part of our weekly schedule” death wish?
As it turns out, the task wasn’t quite so daunting. Most hot dog styles follow a pretty basic blueprint. Talking about the different regional kinds of, say, chili dogs requires about as much research as talking about various pizza toppings. New Jersey wanted to put chili on their hot dog. Georgia puts their chili dog in a bowl. Pennsylvania likes to name things from Pennsylvania after Texas. It’s not exactly academic research, but it is hot dogs, so it’s still worth our attention our affection. And these four hot dogs remaining are the ones we love the most. So let’s dig in.
Regional Hot Dog Styles Of America: Part 4
“We will eat enough hot dogs that our blood type will become ‘Nitrates’ and then we will eat some more.”
~AFFotD Official Credo
Recently, we at AFFotD painstakingly researched over 25 different long rolled sandwiches in America over the course of 11,000 words and four articles. We learned a lot during that delicious (though at times, excruciating) journey—mainly that it takes most wives and husbands about four hours of listening to a writer drunkenly talk about sub sandwiches before they take the kids and go spend a week at their parents’ place. While it’s all well and good to spend your time writing about submarine sandwiches and Italian beefs, when you try to list every type of sandwich in existence you end up scrapping the bottom of the internet to find anything at all that explains why “sarney” is in the dictionary as a type of sandwich, or why whiskey doesn’t always chase the demons away. After we ran ourselves ragged trying to write about every sandwich, we were pleased with our results, but swore an oath that we would never again take on such a daunting, impossible task. Unfortunately, we then celebrated the publication of the series by getting really drunk again and thinking of another article suggestion, and since we were hungry, we decided to talk about every kind of regional hot dog in America.
God…goddamn it. We just will never learn.
Anyway, it’s time to delve into the magical tube of nitrates that is the hot dog in all of its wondrous (and occasionally not-so-wondrous) incarnations. Hold onto your hats, America, here’s another multi-part, nation-sprawling series on unhealthy foods.
Regional Hot Dog Styles Of America: Part 1 of 4
“We just wanted to write about sub sandwiches. That’s safe, right? Delicious, universally loved sub sandwiches. Then the madness came. Then the darkness fell. Then came the Sarney.”
~Found Footage From the Ruins of the Building That Once Housed AFFotD’s Main Office
When we started this journey, we were happy. We were unified. We were just sitting around the writer’s table, adding whiskey to our coffee (office culture dictates that you can’t drink hard unmixed hard alcohol until at least eleven in the morning), laughing, loving. Living. Then, in walked Johnny Roosevelt, our Editor-in-Chief and winner of 2013’s “drunkest at our Christmas party” award.
“Ladies. Gentlemen. Ghosts of the cool Presidents that would have been considered alcoholics in today’s society. We haven’t really talked about sandwiches much, have we?”
And hell followed.
It seemed simple enough. We would just write about all the sandwiches we could think of that are served in long rolls. Basically, variation of submarine and Italian sandwiches, a cornerstone of our culture. We started with the East Coast to cover subs and Italians, and followed it up with Pennsylvania sandwiches so we could write about hoagies and cheesesteaks. We didn’t need to get into dagwood territory, because writing about various sliced bread sandwiches would easily creep into the mundane, and also fuck Dagwood Bumstead.
Then the voices came.
“Tunnels. Bombers. Torpedoes. Barb fucking Mills. Try as you might, you will not find them. They only exist in name to haunt you. Your charge is futile. Your destiny is pointless.”
Anyway, here are some motherfucking sandwiches from the motherfucking Midwest and West Coast and we guarantee we’ll come across another non-existent sandwich and we will lose our motherfucking minds.
The Regional Italian and Submarine Sandwiches of America: Midwest and West Coast
“Goddamn it AFFotD, now I REALLY want pizza for dinner.”
We here at AFFotD have a hard time shutting up about pizza, probably because it’s delicious and incredible and if you don’t like pizza you’re a bad person and you should feel bad. However, in our rush to point out things like “Pizza with toppings put in the crust” or “Goddamn it Japan you’re doing it wrong” we’ve overlooked one of the most important aspects of pizza’s culinary life—its European beginnings, and America’s impressive ability to adapt it for its own heart-clogging purposes. Pizza as a dish originated in Naples, Italy, much more recently than you would assume—while variations of bread baked with cheese have been around since the ancient Greeks, and Italians were eating some combination of baked bread, cheese, and tomato called “pizza” since the 17th century, the “modern” pizza likely wasn’t invented until 1889, using red tomato, green basil, and white mozzarella so as to cover the pie in the three colors of the Italian flag. It’s basically the same logic that America applied when inventing red, white, and blue jello shots.
Despite being such a famously “Italian” food staple, America wasn’t particularly far behind the curve in the pizza department. The first American pizza establishment opened up in the Little Italy neighborhood of New York by 1905. Once pizza reached our shores, we went to work on perfecting it, and we’ve since gone on to develop countless regional forms of the dish, some of them barely resembling the original Italian creation. Usually that’s for the best. Sometimes, not so much.
But we are a land of experimentation, and we’re here to embrace that quality, so join us for the first part of a two part pizza spectacular where we show you the best and worst of America’s regional pizzas, starting with the best because we know you’re hungry right now and we do so love to torture you.
The Five Best Regional Pizzas In America
“That’s not a pizza, it’s a damn casserole! I feel strangely threatened when I see different versions of a food my city’s supposed to be known for!”
At its heart, pizza is just cheese, dough, and tomato sauce, topped with whatever additional ingredient you want. Inherently, pizza exists to breed creativity and adaptivity. In the hands of madmen and foreigners, this culinary freedom can be disastrous, but in the hands of true Americans, this can create an unhealthy, delicious American meal glorious enough to single-handedly keep additional-belt-hole-punchers in business. One of the most glorious examples of this, of course, is the Chicago-style pizza. Less of a pizza pie, and more of a pizza cake, Chicago’s deep dish pizza gives you as much fat, grease, and cheese as you’d expect to find from a city that’s primary gift to the realm of fine cooking involves hot dogs and roast beef dipped in its own juices.
So with a casual, “Get over it, yes, we get it, you guys are proud of your pizza, and you have good pizza places, but stop acting like you’ve done anything original to the style just because you use special tap water to make the crust” to our now-livid readers in New York, AFFotD is proud to present you with…
The History of Chicago-Style Pizza
“Second city? More like fifth coronary, amiright?”
~AFFotD Food Critic, John Goodman
America loves to eat. That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. When you live in a country that has 14,000 McDonalds, 7,500 Pizza Huts, and 6,500 Dunkin’ Donuts, you know that you have a pretty large population of people who live to stuff their faces. But while fast food chains are appropriately American, getting you unhealthy food quick enough that you can fat fat fatty FAT, it is truly the local American restaurants that are able to really embrace American culinary ideals. Because sure, if Hardees wants to make a burger with twice your daily allotment of fat in it, people are going to flip their shit, but if someone has a heart attack in the midst of eating a 6,000 calorie burger, it’s fucking awesome (unless that man’s family is reading this, in which case we salute him for going down like a fucking boss).
That’s why we here at AFFotD are starting our latest American feature—the most American restaurants of major American cities.
So when we think of cities that thrive on unhealthy food and have so little shame that we’re pretty sure veganism is a considered a misdemeanor by its police force, we think of the one city that we’d like to start this segment out with.
The city of fat asses broad shoulders… Chicago, Illinois.
The Most American Restaurants of: CHICAGO