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Stories by Meredith Francis

Boxes of produce like potatoes, carrots, onions, and tomoatoes
June 24, 2022 | Meredith Francis
Community-supported agriculture is a “mutually beneficial relationship” between the farmer and the consumer that allows a person to buy a share of a local farmer's product. We've got an explanation of how it works, along with a list of some of the CSAs that serve the Chicago area.
Two women smiling and eating food at the Taste of Chicago. Credit: City of Chicago DCASE
June 20, 2022 | Meredith Francis
There will be plenty of beer, tacos, and even hot sauce to go around this July. Here are 14 food events in Chicago and the suburbs to add a little flavor to your summer.
An up-close shot of several pretzels
June 16, 2022 | Meredith Francis
Chicagoland pretzel enthusiasts, take note. Gnarly Knots Pretzel Company is moving to a larger space in Lombard this summer, and their stuffed pretzels are still the main event.
Damarr Brown is the Chef de Cuisine at Virtue in Hyde Park, and he recently competed on Top Chef. Image: Will Blunt
June 15, 2022 | Meredith Francis
Damarr Brown, the Chef de Cuisine at Virtue in Hyde Park, wasn't sure he wanted to do Top Chef at first. But after his mentor, Chef Erick Williams, encouraged him to take the opportunity, he went far in the competition. Brown discusses representation in the Chicago restaurant industry and shares his recipe for Chicken and Andouille Jambalaya.
Naengmyeon, or cold buckwheat noodles, from "The Korean Vegan" cookbook. Image Courtesy of "The Korean Vegan" by Joanne Lee Molinaro
June 3, 2022 | Meredith Francis
For TikTok creator and James Beard Book Award-nominated cookbook author Joanne Lee Molinaro, food and family are inextricably linked. She shares the story behind her recipe for vegan naengmyeon, or cold buckwheat noodles.
A lychee martini
June 2, 2022 | Meredith Francis
Just a little over a year after it opened, Nobody's Darling already has a James Beard Award nomination for Outstanding Bar Program. Co-owners Angeles Barnes and Renauda Riddle share the story of their Andersonville cocktail bar, along with the recipe for their Southside Lychee Martini.
People walking through the Chicago Food Truck Festival
May 23, 2022 | Meredith Francis
With summer around the corner and the return of festival season, we've got a round-up of some of the food festivals happening in Chicago and the suburbs in June. Have a taste of everything from beer and hard seltzer to vegan food and ribs. 
A man holding saffron in his palm.
May 19, 2022 | Meredith Francis
Chicago-based Heray Spice works with a farmers' co-op in Afghanistan to support Afghan farmers while providing quality saffron to chefs and at-home cooks in the United States. CEO and co-founder Mohammad Salehi talks about his love for saffron and some of the challenges his company has faced since the Taliban took control of his home country last year.
The new Shel Silverstein Forever Stamp was dedicated at Darwin Elementary School on April 8, 2022. (Credit: USPS photographer Nate Chavis)
April 26, 2022 | Meredith Francis
A memorable image from Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree is now preserved on a U.S. postage stamp.
Jane Byrne raising her finger while speaking at a mayoral forum
March 29, 2022 | Meredith Francis
Jane Byrne was the first woman to be elected Mayor of Chicago and the first woman to lead a mayor U.S. city. A new Chicago Stories documentary follow's Byrne's rise to power and tenure as mayor.