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Chicago Dog Hat with Leather Patch

Chicago Dog Hat with Leather Patch

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This hat features the colors of the Flag of Chicago.

And a big "D" for the DNC 2024 in Chicago.

This event, of course, is going to be a hallmark event for the future of Democratic politics as it picks the former Vice President of the first Black President of the USA and the favorite son of Chicago (forgiving the fact that he is a White Sox fan instead of a Cubs fan), Joe Biden, as its nominee.

It also is going to be a small prelude to the opening of the Obama Presidential library in 2025, which is on the site of the midway of the 1894 Columbian exposition and World's Fair known as the "Chicago World's Fair."

When it comes to Democrats and History, the "Future created Here" will be a throwback to the past, in part because, as sad as it makes me to say.... Joe Biden may be the last President we have who majored in History.

I hope this hat is worn by someone this summer in Chicago.

Also, it's 100% acceptable and expected to get a little mustard on it while chowing down on a Vienna Beef Chicago Dog.

A random fact I know about Vienna Beef and a somewhat loose link to the California Governor's office.

We all know Upton Sinclair's story "The Jungle" about the Chicago meatpacking industry changed how food is inspected in the USA. Vienna Beef is known as FDA #1 because it is the first place to have been inspected by the newly formed FDA and passed inspection. The company is also an official Chicago Hot Dog that is not sold nationally. For example, in California, I can't get a Vienna Beef in the grocery store, and just forget about finding poppyseed rolls.

Anyway, what we don't learn in high school is what happened to Upton Sinclair after publishing the book "The Jungle." He moved to Pasadena, California, and became interested in psychics and telepathic capabilities. He studied and wrote on the subject; this secret history of his later became popular in the movie "Star Wars" when George Lucas turned it into "The Force."

In the early 1930s, he also ran for Governor of California on a Bernie Sanders-like platform of helping the poor. At the time, California was still fairly conservative like Texas or Oklahoma is today, and Upton Sinclair lost his race. But some of his populist socialist ideas also got introduced in the New Deal and later on with politicians such as Bernie Sanders.

Chicago is also home to some iconic food made famous elsewhere in the USA aside from Vienna Beef.

If you look on the back of any can of RoTel, you will see an address in Chicago, and there is not a Mom anywhere in Texas that would ever dare of making queso with anything else other than RoTel.

Of course, the Chicago World's Fair of 1894 featured one of the largest exhibits of manufacturing food on an industrial level ever seen before. Aside from Tesla's electrification of the fair, food manufacturing and canned food were "New" technologies back in the 1890s.

RoTel may be the most famous canned chili and tomatoes in America made famous when Ladybird Johnson published it as her secret ingredient in her chili. But, as history buffs and native Californians know, Carl Roettelle was not the first.

Senor Emilio Carlos Ortega, the former Sheriff of Ventura County, began canning his mom's tomato and chili sauce in 1899, about 20 years before RoTel was created.

The Ortega family is one of the oldest families in California; Emilio's grandfather was a scout for Gaspar Portola and was one of the very first Europeans to ever lay eyes on the San Francisco Bay. Her recipe was probably similar to other Mission recipes of the time, which was a mix of flavors of Mexican, European, and Native American.

I have decided to share a recipe from a California Mission Cookbook I found in a thrift store years ago and randomly ran into a docent at Washington's Crossing in PA who also knew about it. I have not tried this recipe, but it is probably acidic enough to water bath can (also don't trust me on this one, buy a pH meter to check yourself if you plan on ever trying this recipe).

Salsa de Chile

50 tomatoes, ripe, chopped

25 onions, chopped

12 Green Chiles Serranos, chopped

1 bunch of celery, peeled and minced.

1.5 gallons of Vinegar

3 cups of Sugar

1 Tablespoon of: Allspice, Cloves, Cinnamon, Mace

2 Tablespoons of Salt.

Boil all the ingredients for 2.5 hours. Whirl in a blender in batches. Bottle and refrigerate. The sauce is ready for use in 2 weeks.

This would make a good "secret ingredient" in any chili.

Or....

You can just use Obama's chili recipe as seen below.

Ingredients

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

5 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 lb ground turkey or beef

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground oregano

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 tsp ground basil

1 Tbsp chili powder

3 Tbsp red-wine vinegar

One 28-ounce can peeled tomatoes (I prefer San Marzano)

One 29-ounce can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium-high heat

Add the onions, green pepper, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes

Add the meat to the pan. Once the meat has browned, add the spices

Stir in the red-wine vinegar and tomatoes

Using a potato masher, mash the whole tomatoes down

Stir in the kidney beans.

Cook the chili covered for 15 minutes on medium-low heat.

The odd thing I find about this recipe from the Obama's is that it doesn't include the Chicago made favorite secret ingredient of the former first lady of the Texas President LBJ, RoTel....

I also found a recipe for Texas Ranch Chili that was a favorite of both the Presidents named George Bush and their family. Although the recipe does not specifically call for RoTel, I suspect it uses RoTel like Lady Bird Johnson, why? Because the recipe calls for 1 cup of canned tomatoes, and usually canned tomatoes come in a 12-16 oz can. Except RoTel it comes in a 10 oz can which is almost exactly 1 cup when measured out.

History nerds also realize these sorts of secret recipes come and historical customs come out of the kitchens of American Moms spontaneously. A couple of years after the World's Fair in Chicago ended in 1895, America adopted its system of cups and spoons from a cookbook published by Fannie Farmer in 1896. This cookbook became a bestseller because it included ingredients and flavors from across the world that were becoming more popular in the 1890s. It also had a unified system of measurement for recipes which made it different from other popular cookbooks of its era.

The other popular cookbook at the time was "The White House Cookbook" which included recipes from former first ladies and was published in 1887. This cookbook does not include a unified system of measurement for recipes, which is kind of like the US Congress and its oddity of never adopting an official system of weights and measures for the USA.

But that problem won't be solved in Chicago in 2024.

California grows a lot of tomatoes for processing; In 2023, California produced almost 13 million tons of tomatoes that went into cans. Many of them are grown in counties in the CA valley. Former Governor Jerry Brown's home county of Calusa produces over 650,000 tons of tomatoes on over 13,000 acres of land. Solano county has over 9,000 acres of land for tomatoes and produces 440,000 tons of tomatoes along with a Campbell's Soup plant. The county I live in now not only produces more peaches than the entire state of Georgia but also has over 12,000 acres of land for tomatoes and produces over 500,000 tons of tomatoes. McCarthy's home county of Fresno County produces the most tomatoes in the state with over 65,000 acres producing over 3.5 million tons of tomatoes.

I enjoy growing my own tomatoes in my backyard; last year, I began using Burpee seeds, which is also based in a bellwether county of American politics, Bucks County PA in Warminster. I had a fantastic harvest, but I did have to put up some netting because the migratory birds began eating my prized tomatoes.

I do jar and can my own passata that I use year-round.

Sorry for "dragging you through the garden" a little.

But it is named a Chicago Dog Hat, and one of the key ingredients in a classic Chicago Dog is some sliced tomatoes and chilies.

And if you want another historical Chicago/Chili/Presidential/Washington secret, as a little Giardiniera at the end, continue reading this little bit.

Denison chili originated in the Seattle Washington area; however, Denison Texas is a small town that is the birthplace of President Eisenhower and is made somewhat famous by a local botanist who grafted Texan grapes to French wine grapes and saved the French Wine industry from Phylloxera in the 1870s. His name was Thomas Volney Munson; he also worked with Luther Burbank in California to save wine in the Napa/Sonoma region while Count Harazthy was sent by the CA legislature to Europe to help save the grapes. (that's a different story)

Thomas Volney Munson was born in Astoria, Illinois, and was a member of the freethought movement of the 1800s. The freethought movement gained popularity throughout the world in the 19th century, arguing that beliefs should come from logic, reason, and empirical observation as opposed to someone older than you saying something to you when you were young, or religion, or what have you.

The freethought movement included legends such as Victor Hugo, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Albert Einstein, and many others. The organization and social clubs of "freethinkers" faded away in the twentieth century. Bertrand Russell the philosopher criticized the movement a little for its almost dogmatic stance on religion and being atheistic; he was concerned about Russia becoming a godless place. (a concern history has proven to be more than valid)

Here is a Chat GPT summary of an essay he wrote about Freethinkers; this essay was written 100 years ago and is just as valid today as it was back in 1922. He was concerned about "cancel culture" and "fake news" long before they became social media hashtags. This message is something that should be discussed at the DNC in 2024. https://users.drew.edu/~jlenz/br-free-thought.html

Bertrand Russell's essay "Free Thought and Official Propaganda" was written in 1922, and it explores the tension between free thought and the influence of official propaganda. Here are some key points from the essay:

The Impact of Propaganda: Russell discusses the powerful impact of propaganda on public opinion and how it can shape people's beliefs and perspectives. He raises concerns about the manipulation of information by those in authority.

Limitations on Free Thought: Russell argues that propaganda can restrict free thought by creating a conformist environment where dissenting opinions are suppressed. He emphasizes the importance of preserving individual freedom of thought for the well-being of society.

Danger of Conformity: The essay highlights the dangers of a society that blindly follows official propaganda without critically evaluating information. Russell warns against the suppression of diverse opinions, which is essential for intellectual and social progress.

The Role of Education: Russell explores the role of education in fostering independent thinking. He advocates for an educational system that encourages critical thinking skills and the ability to question authority, thereby promoting a more enlightened and democratic society.

The Need for Skepticism: The essay underscores the importance of skepticism in the face of official narratives. Russell encourages people to question and critically evaluate information rather than accepting it without scrutiny.

The Responsibility of Intellectuals: Russell argues that intellectuals have a responsibility to resist the manipulation of public opinion through propaganda. He calls on intellectuals to maintain their independence and contribute to the advancement of knowledge and understanding.

Preserving Democracy: The essay concludes with a plea for the preservation of democracy, which requires a vigilant and informed citizenry. Russell believes that safeguarding individual freedom of thought is crucial for the health and sustainability of a democratic society.

In summary, Bertrand Russell's essay "Free Thought and Official Propaganda" explores the impact of propaganda on free thought and emphasizes the importance of intellectual independence, critical thinking, and the preservation of democracy.

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