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Who knew what the Westernathon would brew!

Cathy2 | Sep 10, 200312:05 AM

Creativity is often borne from varied experiences, but did you ever imagine the Westernathon would be a source? Could you ever guess a chance visit to BevArts Winemaking and Homebrewing Supply Center and Pet Store would be the genesis of a play? The cases of a defunct celebrity cookbook forwarded by Mike Ditka, now a spokesman for male reproductive products, would finally find their appreciative audience 14 years after publication? All this and more is answered in a play called, “The Mayor’s Mouth.”

The play opens with our friend Seth and his friend Chloe seated at a table reading quotes of Mayor Richard J. Daley by candlelight. Once the candle is extinguished, they reassemble at a cooking demonstration station to cook and dish on a featured Mayor of Chicago. On Saturday evening, we were treated to two Mayoral recipes: Mayor Harold Washington’s favorite cookie and 8-Day Mayor Orr’s mushroom soup chicken. However, this play went beyond the “here’s how to assemble the dish.” Their color commentary was history of each Mayor’s time in office and related events; at the same time preparing the dish. Seth had a cute tag line while explaining a process, “You won’t find this tip in the Mayor’s recipe!”

At the conclusion of Mayor Washington’s cookie recipe, cookie samples were delivered to the audience. During the interlude between Mayoral recipes, Seth from Washington, D.C. and Chloe from Providence, RI entertained us with eccentric mayors from their hometowns. It was rather comforting to remember scandalous mayors are not exclusively a Chicago specialty.

During the preparation of Mayor Orr’s recipe, they inquired if there were any Mayors in the audience. This was Mayor of Chowhound’s cue to raise his hand, but he modestly did not draw attention to himself. Two volunteer tasters were selected from the audience, low and behold it was the Chowhoundita’s themselves! One of the young ladies demonstrated such strong table skills, it was suggested she take the chicken in her hands! She immediately dropped the chicken because it was too warm. Sadly, I cannot recall whether or nor the girls liked the food but they certainly like the attention. However, Seth and Chloe made no bones as to their dislike of this dish.

On this occasion, I brought my 15 year-old niece who was somewhat skeptical she’d like the play after I’d sketched it out. However, on the ride home she regretted having school on Monday. Otherwise, she would have loved to return for Sunday evenings Mayoral recipes from Eugene Sawyer’s Sweet Potato Pie and Richie Daley’s Beef Stew. Someday I would like to see the complete show including Mayor’s Michael Bilandic’s Fried Chicken and Jane Byrne’s Mysterious Snowbird recipes from Friday evening’s show.

I admit coming to support the concept, but I found I also enjoyed this play very much. During most of Mayor Washington’s term I was away and vaguely knew of the Council wars. Clearly, Seth and Chloe did not simply stop at a simple recipe citation but put considerable effort brushing up on Chicago Mayoral history, especially considering they are non-natives. I not only had a good chuckle, I learned some new-to-me information.

I look forward to the complete show!

Best regards,

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