Professor of History, Emeritus
Roosevelt University


Tuesday, March 7, 2017
5:30 - 8:30 pm
The Lounge at Iwan Ries
19 South Wabash Ave

Cocktails at 5:30, with the presentation at 6:00 for about thirty minutes,
followed by Q&A and general cocktail conversation. 
Reservations are required.

Professor Kraig writes, "Whatever you eat, you’re eating history.  Food is the driving force in human history, from changes in early human morphology to human transformation of the natural world.  The whole story of America really comes down to food, its production, and its consumption.  No single culinary creation tells us more about the whole story of world and American food than the submarine-hoagie-grinder-torpedo-zeppelin-bomber-hero-garibaldi-Italian-musalatta sandwich. This talk will be about that world and American history through the deconstruction of that great American creation." 

Sandwiches appropriate to the discussion will be provided.

Bruce Kraig is Professor of History and Humanities, Emeritus, at Roosevelt University, where he taught a wide variety of courses in history, anthropology, and popular culture, and since retiring from Roosevelt he has lectured about food at the culinary school of Kendall College, Chicago.  Professor Kraig has appeared widely in the electronic media as writer and on-camera host and narrator for a multi-award winning PBS series on food and culture around the world. His publications range from books and articles in academic journals on European and world prehistory through American history.  He has written hundreds of articles on food in newspapers, journals and for encyclopedia.  His books about cookery and culinary history include Mexican-American Plain Cooking; The Cuisines of Hidden Mexico; Hot Dog: A Global History; Man Bites Dog: Hot Dog Culture in America; editor Cooking Plain: Illinois Style (2012), co-editor (with Colleen Sen) Street Food Around the World: An Encyclopedia of Food and Culture (2013), co-editor (with Colleen Sen and Carol Haddix) Food City: The Encyclopedia of Chicago Food (2017) and A Rich and Fertile Land (2017). He is the editor of the “Heartland Foodways” book series for the University of Illinois Press.  Professor Kraig holds a BA from UC Berkeley (1962) and MA and PhD degrees from the University of Pennsylvania (1963, 1969).

Here's what Publishers Weekly had to say about Bruce Kraig's book, Hot Dog: A Global History: "In this slim and highly readable study, food historian Kraig (Cuisines of Hidden Mexico) produces arguably the definitive work on one of America's classic foods. From the first evidence of processed meat in the Upper Paleolithic (some 20,000 years ago), Kraig traces the gilded ancestry of the lowly hot dog, finding it interwoven into cultures around the world. Ingredients differ from country to country, as do toppings: in Montreal, a hot dog isn't fully dressed until it's doused in an herb-laced tomato sauce; Venezuelans and Colombians prefer onions, mustard and crushed potato chips. Kraig's attention is focused largely on the United States, where the hand-held delicacy is firmly embedded in the national palate. An impressive inventory of regional variations showcase the food's versatility, and stories of industry giants like Oscar Mayer and the evolution of all-important casings make for entertaining reading and retelling, especially over the grill with tongs in hand."

And from The Guardian: "The sausage-in-a-bun's enduring democratic popularity may well be explained by the author's astute passing observation: 'The hot dog eaten on the street, out of the hand, is a kind of protest against modernity' -- even though the sausage itself is likely to have been made in a fully automated industrial process whose details Kraig has wince-makingly rehearsed. As for how hot dogs got their name, he punctures a few much-loved myths involving canny entrepreneurs and shivering fans at baseball games, and ascribes the origin of the phrase to college students making jokes about dog sausages. (As an 1897 editorial in the Kansas City Star put it: 'The origin of the term goes back to the current facetiousness of university towns' -- as though in forlorn hope that student facetiousness would be only a passing phase.)  Kraig closes his book appetizingly with a selection of recipes. The one for an 'Asianised' hot dog, made with teriyaki sauce, is called 'Pigs in a Kimono', which sounds so cute I'm not really sure I want to eat it."

“All human history attests That happiness for man,--the hungry sinner!-- Since Eve ate apples, much depends on dinner.”
--Lord Byron (1788-1824) ‘The Island’, Canto xiii Stanza 99

"Food history is as important as a baroque church. Governments should recognize cultural heritage and protect traditional foods.  A cheese is as worthy of preserving as a sixteenth-century building."  --Carlo Petrini

“A soup like this is not the work of one man. It is the result of a constantly refined tradition. There are nearly a thousand years of history in this soup.”  --Willa Cather, 'Death Comes for the Archbishop' (1927)

About the Cigar Society of Chicago

ONE OF THE OLDEST AND greatest traditions of the city clubs of Chicago is the discussion of intellectual, social, legal, artistic, historical, scientific, musical, theatrical, and philosophical issues in the company of educated, bright, and appropriately provocative individuals, all under the beneficent influence of substantial amounts of tobacco and spirits.  The Cigar Society of Chicago embraces this tradition and extends it with its Informal Smokers, University Series lectures, and Cigar Society Dinners, in which cigars, and from time to time pipes and cigarettes, appear as an important component of our version of the classical symposium.  To be included in the Cigar Society's mailing list, write to the secretary at