Is there anyone who doesn't thrill to the food adventures awaiting you on a road trip? Yeah, actually lots of people, apparently, all those boring folks who pull over at the first Subway or Hardee's on the interstate. (Or live life on the edge and check out a Texas Roadhouse for the first time!) It's a lot harder these days to live the classic Route 66 dream of local diners and pie shops, but it can be done, and that's the spirit of adventure being celebrated this weekend in the Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance's annual symposium, "Road Food: Exploring the Midwest One Bite at a Time." There will be programs and activities Friday afternoon and all day Saturday and Sunday, including a keynote speech from Michael Stern, author with his wife Jane of Road Food and other books, entitled “Will Success Spoil Regional Food?”
Other speakers include WBEZ blogger Louisa Chu on food trucks, the Sun-Times' Dave Hoekstra on midwest supper clubs, Mary Bergin on drive-in restaurants, and Terri Ryburn, owner of a Route 66 gas station which she's restoring near Normal, Illinois, on her family's first Route 66 trip back in the 50s. There will also be a visit to Lou Mitchell's (more or less right at the head of Route 66) and the Maxwell Street Market on Sunday, and tastings of a Springfield, Il. horseshoe sandwich and the Pleasant House Bakery truck. It'll all be at Kendall College, except when they take a road trip. To get more of a taste of what's going to be on the program, go here or here, and you can hear Chu and organizer Cathy Lambrecht on this morning's 848 when it gets put up online later today, or catch them tonight on Milt Rosenberg's show on WGN Radio.