Friday, April 25, 2008

Little Foodie Things from Chicago

I signed up for Dispensing Happiness's Blogging By Mail several months ago. The subject this time is "Little Things". I decided to compile a package of "little things" from Chicago. While Chicago is probably best know for Deep Dish Pizza, hot dogs, cheesecake and Italian beef sandwiches, none of these things could be shipped internationally to my partner. Instead, I took a look back into Chicago's history and discovered that Chicago was once the "Candy Capital" of America. So I hope the recipient of my package has a sweet tooth! I have chosen items from companies based in Chicago or the Chicagoland area.

Wrigley - When I was growing up Wrigley was some of the only gum we could get. When I became a "tween" things like Hubba Bubba started coming out, but for a long time Wrigley was the only gum around. I have included traditional gums such as Juicy Fruit, Big Red and Wrigley's Spearmint. The company is still going strong and I have also included two of their newest gums, 5 Flame and 5 Rain. I think 5 Flame is the modern Big Red and 5 Rain is one of the modern mint gums. But they are all still good!

Tootsie Roll Industries - All little kids love tootsie rolls, mostly because they are small, sweet and individually wrapped. Tootsie has been a Chicago company since the 60's. In addition to Tootsie Rolls, I have included other classic candies from this company such as Junior Mints and Charleston Chews.

Crate and Barrel - In the 80's people used to come from all over the United States to shop at Crate and Barrel. Nowadays there are locations spread out throughout the US, but their headquarters and flagship store are still located in Chicago. While there are many household items available at Crate and Barrel, I included some cute cupcake papers, decorative stencils and some colored sugar.

Frontera Grill - Started by Rick Bayless, Frontera Grill is still one of the best restaurants in the city. In addition to hosting Mexico - One Plate at a Time, Rick Bayless has spread out and started selling products from his famous restaurant. I have included a salsa and a simmer sauce.

Ferrera Pan - Makers of classic "pan" candy, I have included boxes of Lemonheads, Red Hots, Boston Baked Beans.

Jays Foods - Jay's became famous for their potato chips. The interesting part is that the potato chips were actually the idea of Al Capone! The story goes that Capone tried them while betting on the ponies in New York. He liked them so much that and asked his supplier to start making them for his speakeasies. Jay's closed in December of 2007, but some of their classic chips are still around.

In addition to the foods listed above, I also included a little book on Chicago. It has pictures of Chicago "then and now" and really shows the growth of the city. There are also some other candies such as sugar babies and a candy bar from a chocolate factory in Chicago that I bought at the famous Chicago Theater.

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