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What We’re Cooking This Week: Quick and Easy Chicken Soup

Jim Dixon wrote about food for WW for more than 20 years, but these days most of his time is spent at his olive oil-focused specialty food business Wellspent Market. Jim’s always loved to eat, and he encourages his customers to cook by sending them recipes every week through his newsletter. We’re happy to have him back creating some special dishes just for WW readers.

Before climate change brought us more sunny days than we ever thought possible, soup season could last all year in the Pacific Northwest. And while a hot bowl of chicken soup definitely makes cold, wet conditions more tolerable, it tastes just as good when the skies are blue, especially if one of the three viruses of the tripledemic have paid a call. Sick or not, you can whip up this quick chicken soup in about an hour, and it beats anything from a can or box.

A couple of things about soup. Cut the vegetables and chicken into small pieces. Nobody wants to fish huge chunks out of their bowl. While you could just add them to the pot, cooking the aromatic vegetables in olive oil first is a good step for any soup. It coaxes out more flavor. Both the optional but highly recommended soy sauce and msg add umami, the savory quality that makes things taste better. Every kitchen should have a shaker of msg handy. All the adverse health claims about it have been debunked, and they originate from anti-Asian racism anyway, so decolonize your spice rack and pick up a red-and-white jar of what I like to call aji no moto (the original Japanese name for monosodium glutamate).

And even though this soup is ready to eat in less than an hour, it’ll be better if it simmers longer, and it’s best if you let it sit in the refrigerator overnight and heat it up the next day.

2 boneless chicken thighs

1 onion, chopped

1-2 carrots, sliced into small pieces

1 stalk celery, chopped

1/4 head green cabbage, chopped

2 quarts water

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoon kosher-style sea salt

1 tablespoon soy sauce, optional

Couple of shakes of msg, optional

Put the chicken, 1 teaspoon of salt, and water in a soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes. Remove the chicken, let cool, and chop into small pieces. Return to the pot.

While the chicken is simmering, cook the onion, carrots and celery with the olive oil and the rest of the salt in a skillet over medium heat until soft, about 10 minutes. Add them and the cabbage to the soup pot with the cut-up chicken. Add the soy sauce, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes. Taste and add salt if needed, stir in the vinegar, and simmer for another few minutes. Serve hot and feel better.

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East Fork Cultivars and Peak Extracts Have Decided to Merge

Two of Oregon’s most respected cannabis companies, East Fork Cultivars and Peak Extracts, are merging, which, if you rely on either brand medicinally or just appreciate them recreationally, is great news—and not just for consumers, but possibly other small businesses, too.

If you glance at each business’s profile, the merger makes sense. Both East Fork and Peak are renowned for their award-winning therapeutic products. Both companies began with the founder’s need to treat a specific disorder. Both companies prioritize education as well as quality over quantity. East Forks’ expansive, outdoor farms have become a gold standard in organic cultivation, and Peak Extracts boasts a similar reputation for manufacturing strain-specific chocolates and tinctures. So we wondered what, if anything, can consumers expect to see change as a result of the merger?

“Katie [Stem, founder of Peak Extracts] and I have been friends and peer mentors for years,” says Mason Walker, founder of East Fork Cultivars. “We already knew we had a really good overlap on values, products, our product vision, and our business philosophies.”

“I was trying to think of ways that we can change the way we do business,” Stem says. “And it was just like, what does Peak need, what does East Fork need, and how could we possibly help each other out? And the longer Mason and I talked, the more it seemed that there was just an enormous amount of synergy.”

WW caught up with Stem and Walker to discuss what the merger will mean for not just therapeutic users, but for cannabis education, cannabinoid research and development, and small cannabis companies hoping for a survival blueprint.

WW: What was the impetus for the East Fork/Peak Extracts merger?

Katie Stem: I hadn’t talked to Mason for a number of months. We regularly had brunches and hangouts before the pandemic. But I had a dream about him. I woke up, and literally, as I picked up my phone, he texted me. I was like, OK, this is funny. So we called each other that day, and I was trying to think of ways that we can change the way we do business. And he and I started with a thought experiment. Material sourcing has always been a barrier for us, because we’re super picky about who we use. So wouldn’t that be the dream, to have a farm but without all the liability of farming?

Mason Walker: When we started getting more serious, talking about a merger, we already had that foundation. And we could quickly jump forward to the more nuts-and-bolts strategy and vision moving forward, knowing that a solid foundation was already there. Peak and East Fork have long been independently owned, family-oriented craft cannabis operators. As the market continues to commoditize and consolidate and corporatize, we’re able to put our organizations together to better compete against that trend, but still maintain independent ownership, family scale. Through the vertical integration that Katie was talking about, we’re already seeing some of the benefits of that merger.

Is this going to shift focus from either of the brands’ therapeutic roots?

Walker: I’m glad you pointed out therapeutic roots. We already knew that we both deeply hold the same values and largely the same founding story for each of our organizations. East Fork was founded due to a sick family member who had a neurological disorder, and Peak is the same exact story—a little bit more personal, because it’s Katie, specifically, who has Crohn’s disease. I think the merger, if anything, strengthens those founding values, because we both had to be fairly pragmatic and match the market.

How will East Fork and Peak be restructured post-merger?

Stem: The short answer is that there’s not going to be as much that changes, as people would probably guess. One of the super-attractive parts for me about this whole merger is that my passion and background are in formulation and scientific process and chemistry. So I don’t spend nearly as much time as I’d like making and formulating products because I’m running the company. East Fork has this super-well-laid-out and well-crafted infrastructure, but Peak has held on to the core team of seven since the pandemic. That just means I’m doing a lot of really small jobs and not focusing on the formulations.

Walker: Katie is now the president, a board member and minority owner. I got to moderate a virtual panel hosted by Cannabis Business Times, and the topic at hand was exploring rescheduling and descheduling of cannabis as a controlled substance. I think I’m hopeful that this merger can help us be more ready for that because we’ll have more resources to pour in both directions. The combined organization is about 30 people, and I think we’re definitely better situated for that now, mostly because we’re just a little bigger.

Is there an ulterior motive with this merger to set a low-key example that might help preserve some of these smaller companies?

Walker: Absolutely, yeah. East Fork has put our story out into the world. We’re small, but we can show a way of doing things that we believe in and hopefully inspire others to follow the alternative path to regenerative agriculture. We’re tiny. So, in the grand scheme, our impact is limited, but the information, the example can be powerful. This is an alternative for Oregon craft cannabis companies that are under a lot of duress, as opposed to just giving up or trying to sell themselves to the big multistate operators or retail chains.

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Listen to The Ben Joravsky Show

Reader senior writer Ben Joravsky riffs on the day’s stories with his celebrated humor, insight, and honesty, and interviews politicians, activists, journalists and other political know-it-alls. Presented by the Chicago Reader, the show is available by 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays at chicagoreader.com/joravsky—or wherever you get your podcasts. Don’t miss Oh, What a Week!–the Friday feature in which Ben & producer Dennis (aka, Dr. D.) review the week’s top stories. Also, bonus interviews drop on Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays. 

Chicago Reader podcasts are recorded on Shure microphones. Learn more at Shure.com.

With support from our sponsors

Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri SEIU Healthcare: United for Quality Care
Chicago Federation of Labor

Chicago Reader senior writer Ben Joravsky discusses the day’s stories with his celebrated humor, insight, and honesty on The Ben Joravsky Show.

The Florida strategy

MAGA’s attempt to scare white voters into voting against Pritzker didn’t work so well, to put it mildly.


It worked!

Leasing CHA land to the Chicago Fire is part of a longstanding plan to gentrify the city.


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Black Arts Movement School, Looking for Jean-Luc, and more

It’s the final week to catch the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s “SAIC Faculty Sabbatical Triennial” exhibition, which features work produced by 38 faculty members who completed a sabbatical or a similar paid leave during the last three academic years. Not only does this show represent the breadth of ideas and creative practices at an influential local arts institution, but it also demonstrates how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the artistic inquiries of these instructors. There’s some great Chicago history hidden in the show, including documentation of art historian Romi Crawford’s Black Arts Movement School Modality, which “explores the ideological structures that emerged in Chicago from the Black Arts Movement in the 1960s and 1970s.” New media artist Mary Patten debuts the video Hokey Sapp Does SPEW, which features Kate Schechter as the facetious media character Hokey Sapp interviewing people at SPEW: The Homographic Convergence, a zine convention hosted at Randolph Street Gallery in 1991. SPEW is recognized as a crucial connection point for midwestern queer culture in the 90s, including what led to the Homocore punk shows. Patten edited and shaped the piece this year using video footage that she shot with Schechter in 1991. The “SAIC Faculty Sabbatical Triennial” is on view at SAIC Galleries (33 E. Washington); open hours from 11 AM-6 PM today through Saturday 12/3. Saturday also offers a closing program and meet and greet with artist Ruth Margraff and other SAIC faculty from 4-6 PM. (MC)

If you’re a fan of French New Wave cinema—you know, the 60s experimental film movement heavy with jump cuts, mod style, and ennui—then you’ll want to check out Looking for Jean-Luc, an online-only panel discussion of director Jean-Luc Godard. Independent filmmakers Joël Akafou and Thavary Krouch, Chicago International Film Festival programmer Sam Flancher, and University of Chicago Cinema and Media Studies department chair Dan Morgan will gather to discuss the work of the director known for films such as Breathless and Weekend. Join them via Zoom at 6:30 PM. This event is organized by Alliance Française de Chicago. If you are not a student, or a member of Cinema/Chicago, the Gene Siskel Film Center, or Facets, Alliance Française kindly requests a $15 donation to support similar future programming. (MC)

Here are three music options for tonight:

  • Pianist and composer Robert Glasper starts a four night run at City Winery tonight, with two shows scheduled each evening. Unfortunately, all of the 7 PM shows are currently sold out, as is the 10:30 PM Friday show, but waiting list information as well as tickets for the remaining 10:30 PM shows are available at the venue’s website. (Today through Fri 12/2, 7 and 10:30 PM, 1200 W. Randolph, $55-$78, all-ages, tickets here)
  • British singer-songwriter Beabadoobee visits Riviera Theatre for an all-ages show; Lowertown opens. (7:30 PM, 4746 N. Racine, $30-$45, tickets at AXS)
  • A record release show for two improvisational ensembles, the Gilgamanians and Maku Sica (formerly Mako Sica) happens tonight at Elastic. More at Reader contributor Bill Meyer’s concert preview. (8 PM, 3429 W. Diversey, second floor, $15, all-ages, tickets at the door) (SCJ)

Previews begin tonight at 7:30 PM for Manual Cinema’s Christmas Carol at Writers Theatre (325 Tudor Ct., Glencoe). The company originally created the piece as a live Zoom play during the pandemic, and now the story of Aunt Trudy, a grieving widow finding it hard to find holiday cheer, gets a full live production, featuring Manual Cinema’s usual array of puppetry, live music, and projections to give a contemporary twist to the Dickens classic. The show runs through 12/24 and is recommended for 6+; tickets are $35-$90 at writerstheatre.org. (KR)

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Jane Addams Resource Corporation offers free training and job placement

A skilled worker in the manufacturing industry can anticipate a lifetime of financial stability in a vibrant, in-demand field. But for many, getting the necessary training and education to launch a career in the trades can be daunting, and even cost prohibitive. The folks at Jane Addams Resource Corporation know there’s no time like the present to take your career—and your life—by the reins. 

Founded in 1985, as an economic development agency focused on preserving manufacturing jobs in and around the Ravenswood Industrial Corridor, Jane Addams Resource Corporation (JARC) has blossomed into one of Chicago’s most vital resources for unemployed and low-income workers seeking careers in the trades. 

JARC operates under the guiding principles that people who work should not live in poverty, and that focusing on careers can lead to lasting, substantive change. At their three locations in Austin, Ravenswood, and Chatham, they’ve provided free job training programs for thousands of Chicagoans, empowering them to transform their lives and support their families through well-paying jobs while helping to fill a void of highly skilled workers in the U.S. manufacturing space.

As a 501c3 nonprofit, JARC is mission driven, focused on alleviating poverty in Chicago and promoting gainful paths to employment that lead to family sustaining wages. During this season of giving you can support JARC by making a contribution on 11/29 for Giving Tuesday.

Getting started on a brand-new career path with JARC’s job training program is as easy as registering for one of the weekly application sessions, which are held in person on the first Wednesday of each month, and virtually every Wednesday in between. Applicants can choose between several different programs focusing on in-demand skills, which currently include: Manufacturing Bridge Program, Fundamentals of Manufacturing, Mechanical Assembly, CNC Operating, and Welding. (Courses run anywhere from ten to 20 weeks.) Rather than a traditional classroom setting with long lectures and copious amounts of homework, JARC’s training programs simulate a manufacturing workplace environment, adhering to strict attendance and safety protocols, while prioritizing peer learning, teamwork, and leadership development through hands-on, project-based lessons. 

JARC applies a holistic lens when working with students; this approach better addresses their needs beyond career training and education alone. Trainees can tap into an array of support services, such as financial education and coaching, legal aid, and help with applying for Medicaid, and other public benefits. These services are also available at no cost, and students may be eligible for further assistance, such as prepaid public transit cards to offset the cost of commuting to class or funds to help pay for costly but necessary safety gear.

As JARC students prepare to complete their programs and transition into their new professions, they can utilize the center’s resume-writing services, mock interviews, and job-placement opportunities.In fact, some students are able to find employment through JARC before they even finish their studies. 

So whether you’re launching your career for the first time, seeking a change, returning to the workforce, or interested in improving your English language and math skills while learning a lucrative, exciting trade, JARC could be the place for you. 

Support JARC for Giving Tuesday today. Visit JARC online at www.jane-addams.org today to learn more about its programs and sign up for a Wednesday application session

This content is sponsored by Jane Addams Resource Corporation.

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Weird-rock trio Michael Columbia reunite after a 12-year hiatus

Michael Columbia in 2008: Dylan Ryan, Chris Kalis, and Dave McDonnell Credit: Jeremiah Chiu

Sixteen years ago, Michael Columbia were one of Chicago’s most compelling bands, combining smooth jazz, twitchy progressive rock, the occasional wacky time signature, and sometimes even a pop-adjacent melody. Dave McDonnell (saxophone, keyboards, bass, vocals) and Dylan Ryan (drums) were cozy with several groups linked to local label Obey Your Brain and South Loop recording studio Shape Shoppe, including Icy Demons and Bablicon—and all of them enriched the world’s weirdo-rock quotient. Chris Kalis (guitar, synthesizers), who’d cofounded Chandeliers in 2005, joined the duo of McDonnell and Ryan the following year—after the recording of Stay Hard, to date the final Michael Columbia release. The band played the Pitchfork Music Festival in 2009 and broke up that summer, when McDonnell left town for Cincinnati (he now lives in Philadelphia) and Ryan split for Los Angeles. For a while they continued working together remotely, but that tailed off in 2010. After a 12-year hiatus, though, Michael Columbia are back. “The band will be recording at Jamdek studios and finishing a record of material that has been on the shelves for over a decade,” Kalis says. They’ll also reunite for a show at Co-Prosperity on Saturday, December 3, which will be livestreamed on Lumpen.TV; Oui Ennui headlines, and Courtesy and Chelsea Bridge open. Welcome back, fellas! 

Michael Columbia are rerecording this track for their upcoming album.
This Michael Columbia track, which appeared posthumously on a 2011 compilation, will also get redone.

In August, Gossip Wolf caught a set by local indie-rock quartet Shoulderbird at Golden Dagger, where the mellow, jazz-tinged phrasing of guitarist and vocalist Meredith Nesbitt made an immediate impression—as did her crackerjack band, which consists of guitarist Kyle Paul, bassist Miles Allen, and drummer Lily Finnegan. In November, Shoulderbird released the mini album Parade via Bandcamp, and its five songs are even better than this wolf remembered. They glisten with warm, spacious reverb and more than a touch of soulful Americana.

Guitarist and vocalist Meredith Nesbitt wrote all the material on Parade.

Local culture outlet These Days has been on this wolf’s reading list for years. Its twice-yearly feature “Chicago Artists to Watch” is always a must-read, and the fall/winter 2022 iteration came out in November. To celebrate, These Days will host two consecutive Schubas concerts featuring acts covered in this year’s two “Artists to Watch” roundups. Fingy, Godly the Ruler, and Cece Maravilla perform on Thursday, December 1; Pretty Liyah, CP, and Semiratruth hit the stage on Thursday, December 2. Tickets are $15 per night or $25 for both. The shows are 18 and up and begin at 8 PM.

Chicago Artists to Watch • Fall / Winter 2022
These Days’ promo video for “Chicago Artists to Watch,” shot and edited by Audiotree Media


Got a tip? Tweet @Gossip_Wolf or email gossipwolf@chicagoreader.com.

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COP27: Fossil of the Day Award

Turkey honored as the country that’s “the best at being the worst”

As the world’s eyes turn to Egypt for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), Austin-based Texas Impact/Texas Interfaith Power & Light is sending to the Chronicle daily dispatches from the conference.


A longstanding COP tradition, the Fossil of the Day is awarded by Climate Action Network International to the country that is “the best at being the worst” and “does the most to do the least.” Here, the Fossil of the Day crew explain how to be a “climate champion” and award Turkey with the prestigious trophy after the Turkish delegation puzzles COP attendees with their projected emissions goals in a plenary session earlier that day.

Follow Texas Impact/Texas Interfaith Power & Light’s continuing coverage from COP27.


About Texas Impact

Texas Impact exists to put faith into action. We equip faith leaders and their congregations with the information, opportunities, and outreach tools to educate their communities and engage with lawmakers on pressing public policy issues. We are an interfaith group that works together on issues that impact the most vulnerable people in our communities. We help people live out their faith in the public square, moving the faith community from charity to justice.

Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at austinchronicle.com/opinion.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

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COP27: Protecting the Human Rights of Climate Refugees

VIDEO: Experts consider the legal & moral issues of climate migration

As the world’s eyes turn to Egypt for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), Austin-based Texas Impact/Texas Interfaith Power & Light is sending to the Chronicle daily dispatches from the conference.


Historically, “human displacement” has been a subset of the larger issue of disaster response and remediation, or “loss and damage” in COP parlance. But as climate change impacts intensify, climate-induced migration already is growing. Experts Brandon Wu and Abiodun Oluyomi discuss the issues at play.

Follow Texas Impact/Texas Interfaith Power & Light’s continuing coverage from COP27.


About Texas Impact

Texas Impact exists to put faith into action. We equip faith leaders and their congregations with the information, opportunities, and outreach tools to educate their communities and engage with lawmakers on pressing public policy issues. We are an interfaith group that works together on issues that impact the most vulnerable people in our communities. We help people live out their faith in the public square, moving the faith community from charity to justice.

Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at austinchronicle.com/opinion.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

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COP27: Ride a Bike, Save the Planet

The role of cycling in the new mobility paradigm

As the world’s eyes turn to Egypt for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), Austin-based Texas Impact/Texas Interfaith Power & Light is sending to the Chronicle daily dispatches from the conference.


At the United Nations climate negotiations, leaders from across the world are meeting to find solutions to the growing climate crisis. Here, Jill Warren of the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) makes the case that governments should be prioritizing cycling as one of the quickest and most efficient options for decarbonizing transportation.

Follow Texas Impact/Texas Interfaith Power & Light’s continuing coverage from COP27.


About Texas Impact

Texas Impact exists to put faith into action. We equip faith leaders and their congregations with the information, opportunities, and outreach tools to educate their communities and engage with lawmakers on pressing public policy issues. We are an interfaith group that works together on issues that impact the most vulnerable people in our communities. We help people live out their faith in the public square, moving the faith community from charity to justice.

Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at austinchronicle.com/opinion.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

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COP27: The Case for Why Texas Is the Most Vulnerable State in the Country to Climate Impacts

Pick your poison: drought, flood, heat wave, hurricane

As the world’s eyes turn to Egypt for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), Austin-based Texas Impact/Texas Interfaith Power & Light is sending to the Chronicle daily dispatches from the conference.


Texas-based climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe is a global leader in climate communications. Hayhoe is a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); a professor at Texas Tech University; and Chief Scientist at The Nature Conservancy. Here, Hayhoe explains why climate change matters so much in Texas.

Follow Texas Impact/Texas Interfaith Power & Light’s continuing coverage from COP27.


About Texas Impact

Texas Impact exists to put faith into action. We equip faith leaders and their congregations with the information, opportunities, and outreach tools to educate their communities and engage with lawmakers on pressing public policy issues. We are an interfaith group that works together on issues that impact the most vulnerable people in our communities. We help people live out their faith in the public square, moving the faith community from charity to justice.

Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at austinchronicle.com/opinion.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle