Things To Do While Self-Isolating in Chicago: Part 3 — Invent the Next Great Chicago Food

With tens of millions of Americans suddenly forced to work from home, to stay at home, and to confront the general cleanliness of their homes; this seems like a good time to discuss things to do while self-isolated in Chicago. We bring you this series as people with some experience in this arena, having worked from home for ten years in a 475-square-foot apartment in downtown Chicago with a wife and a cat.

Part 3 of ?: Invent the Next Great Chicago Food

Deep dish pizza wasn’t born out of the Fort Dearborn Massacre. And the Chicago hot dog wasn’t inspired by Mrs. O’Leary’s cow. But that doesn’t mean that COVID can’t create Chicago’s next signature meal. 

We’ll just call this invention “Calumet City-style pizza.” Expect the same level of disappointment from your online dating app.

While you’re cooped up in your de-lux apartment in the sky,* throw open your kitchen cabinets, climb on a step stool and let your imagination wander through the disappointment that is the upper reaches of your pantry. 

There are five or six jars of bay leaves, because every time you need a single bay leaf you can never remember if you have any.  An unreasonable number of cans of Clabber Girl baking powder, which have somehow achieved the skill of asexual reproduction.  And boxes of Jell-O from back when it was still OK to have Bill Cosby as a spokesman for your family-friendly food brand. 

Combine what you find in just the right way, and you’ve won a ticket to food fame worthy of a Logan Square street taco joint. 

We’ll get you started: Sauté Spam in all those soy sauce packets you keep in the kitchen drawer. Stir in that multi-armed root vegetable you picked up on a whim at Mariano’s last fall. And serve on a bed of the leftover lasagna noodles that seemed like such a good idea when they were on sale for 99¢.  

And if your building has a communal kitchen, even better.  All the joy of cooking with none of the pesky cleaning up after yourself! 

Eat something new. This tree had no idea how delicious signs were until it ate one.

*Fun fact: The theme song from The Jeffersons was sung by the woman who played Thelma Wilona on Good Times. 

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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