Focus

WILL - Focus - August 15, 2013

From the Ground Up

Do you grow vegetables in a garden or in pots around your home or apartment? If you do -why did you start? If you don’t, why not? This hour on Focus, Lisa Bralts talks with Jeanne Nolan, author of “From the Ground Up” about why she does and how she learned.

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(Duration: 52:06)

Jeanne Nolan

Jeanne Nolan has run the Edible Gardens at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago for eight years. In addition to working with Green City Market, the organization which maintains the Edible Gardens, Jeanne runs a business helping people learn to plant and grow their own vegetable gardens. Getting to where she is today, however, was a long and winding road. This hour on Focus, guest host Lisa Bralts talks with Nolan about why she’s devoted her life to organic gardening and how she got to where she is today. We’ll talk with her about the time she spent learning about agriculture at a commune in California and will also talk with  her about the US’s urban farming movement and if it’s losing steam or still gaining momentum. During this hour on Focus, we’ll also dig a little deeper into the cost of the grow-your-own model and talk about Nolan’s “five food principles” when starting a backyard garden or urban farm.

Categories: Agriculture, Food

WILL - Focus - July 11, 2013

A History of Food in 100 Recipes

What’s your favorite dinner dish? Ever wondered where it came from? This hour on Focus, we’ll learn more about the history of food, from the first real writings about cheese to how and why the fork became commonplace in Western culture.

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(Duration: 51:28)

book cover

How we think about food, how we prepare food and how we eat food is constantly changing. It’s mind-blowing to think about how much food changes over the course of a decade, let alone several hundred years. What are your favorite dinner dishes? Have you ever wondered how they evolved into the recipes you know and love? This hour on Focus, Lisa Bralts talks with author William Sitwell about the history of food….and when we say history, we mean deep history. We’ll go back to the 1400’s when royals were eating feasts prepared from recipes calling for an entire pig, and we’ll learn more about when the fork became a fixture in Western culture. 

Why 100 recipes, you ask? We’ll find out during this episode of Focus.

Categories: Food

WILL - Focus - July 02, 2013

Man Bites Dog: Hot Dog Culture in America

Do you use ketchup? Maybe you prefer mustard or a more flashy Chicago style? This hour on Focus, Jeff Bossert talks with Bruce Kraig about the hot dog, where it came from, and why it’s such an integral part of summertime in the US.

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(Duration: 51:30)

They go by many names… Frankfurters. Franks. Weiners. Tube Steaks. Coneys. Grillers. Shaggy Dogs or just “dogs.”  But when and why did hot dogs become such a quintiensccial part of American culture? This hour on Focus, Jeff Bossert talks with Bruce Kraig, co-author of the new book “Man Bites Dog: Hot Dog Culture In America.” Bossert talks with Kraig about what’s in a hot dog, how they are made and how hot dogs, like sausages, have played a role in city politics in Chicago. We’ll also talk about the virtually limitless recipes and ways to prepare them.

This hour we'll also hear from long-time Wonderdogs owner Jay Feitz. He left a career as an engineer to run the hot dog shop located in Campustown in Champaign nearly 30 years ago and is officially closing his doors this week. 

Do you have a favorite local hot dog shop? What are your toppings? 

Categories: Food

WILL - Focus - June 20, 2013

Illinois Wine

The Illinois wine industry more than tripled its size in the last ten years. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about where to find the best Illinois wines, growing grapes in a Midwest climate and will talk investigate some of the challenges vinters face in the state.

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(Duration: 51:47)

a woman shopping for wine

There’s what some call a wine movement happening through the Midwest, and Illinois is definitely following suit. Midwest wine makers and grape growers have seen a huge increase in business in the last decade, and this hour on Focus, we’ll talk about why. Bradley Beam, an enologist with the Illinois Grape Growers and Vinters Association will join us to talk about what makes an Illinois wine and Illinois wine and where you can go to find the perfect one for you. Tony Jacobson, a winemaker at Sleepy Creek Vineyards in Fairmount also joins us. We’ll talk about new research being done to enable vineyards to grow more grapes in a colder climate, and he’ll walk us through the wine making process from start to finish.

Have you visited a winery or vineyard in Illinois? What wines do you recommend? Maybe you have questions about why locally produced wines are sometimes hard to come by… We’d love to hear from you this hour on Focus!

Categories: Food

WILL - Focus - June 17, 2013

For God, Country and Coca-Cola

“Ahhh…” We’re all familiar with the sound of the cap being popped off a bottle of coke, but how did Coca-Cola evolve to one of the more recognized brands in American history? We’ll find out this hour on Focus.

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(Duration: 51:29)

Coca-Cola bottles

This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with journalist and author Mark Pendergrast about his book, now out in paperback, “For God, Country and  Coca-Cola.” Pendergrast tells us about the now famous soft drink that started as an obscure patent medicine created by a small family owned business.

In his book, Pendergrast shares the guarded secret recipe for the cola…. We’ll hear about what ingredients comprise America’s beloved soft drink and if it’s true whether or not Coke actually contained cocaine in the early 1900’s.

So…coke or pepsi? We want to hear from you this hour on Focus!

Categories: Food, History

WILL - Focus - June 07, 2013

25 Ways to Cure the Hiccups: Uncovering the Truth Behind 101 Common Myths and Misconceptions

Will you really catch cold quicker if you go outside with wet hair? Is swimming after a meal really dangerous? This hour on Focus, we talk with Brian Udermann about the answers to these questions and the truth behind other common bits of motherly advice. We welcome your questions this hour!

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(Duration: 51:19)

book cover of 25 Ways to Cure the Hiccups: Uncovering the Truth Behind 101 Common Myths and Misconceptions

This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with author Brain Udermann about his book “25 Ways to Cure the Hiccups: Uncovering the Truth Behind 101 Common Myths and Misconceptions." We’ll talk with him about the validity of common household advice. Sorry to disappoint you, but eating celery does not burn more calories to digest than it’s worth, and feeding a cold and starving a fever aren’t in the “truthful” category during this episode of Focus.

Categories: Food, Health

WILL - Focus - April 25, 2013

The Best Things You Can Eat

Is the new Honey Bunches of Oats with Greek Yogurt really a healthier cereal because the words “greek yogurt” are on the box? This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with David Grotto, a registered dietician and nutritionist, about the best things you can eat. We welcome your nutrition questions this hour!

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(Duration: 52:31)

Pumpkin seems to be taking over the world of specialty flavors, but is that a good thing? Doesn’t pumpkin have health benefits? If you don’t like vegetables, is V8 juice really the right way to get the vitamins and minerals you need? This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with David Grotto, a registered dietician and nutritionist, about the best things you can eat. We’ll talk about the vital nutrients everybody needs and why they are important. We’ll also note some common food misconceptions. We welcome your nutrition and diet questions this hour on Focus!


WILL - Focus - February 04, 2013

The Best Things You Can Eat

Is an apple or an orange the best source of vitamin c? Should you really feed fever and starve a cold? Or is it feed a cold and starve a fever? Today on Focus, registered dietitian David Grotto joins the program to answer your calls and questions about nutrition. We'll take questions on Facebook and Twitter too! 

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(Duration: 50:58)

fruits and vegetables

This hour on Focus, host Craig Cohen talks with David Grotto, a registered dietitian and nutritionist, about the best things you can eat. We’ll talk about the vital nutrients everybody needs and why they are important. We'll also talk about some common food misconceptions. We welcome your nutrition and diet questions on Facebook and Twitter and will take your calls.

Categories: Food, Public Health
Tags: nutrition, diet


WILL - Focus - January 14, 2013

Interview with Filmmaker Byron Hurt

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(Duration: 51:20)

Byron Hurt standing in front of wall covered by grafitti

Describing himself as "more than a filmmaker," Byron Hurt is an anti-sexist activist who provides cutting-edge male leadership, expert analysis, keynote addresses, and workshop facilitation in the field of sexual and gender violence prevention and education. His latest film "Soul food Junkies," looks at the links between African-American identity and "soul food," much of which is high in fat and calories. Hurt's father died of pancreatic cancer, and this type of high-fat diet is a risk factor for the illness.

Categories: Food, Health, Race/Ethnicity

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