Today is National Illinois Day and Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. While Illinois and Pearl Harbor are thousands of miles apart, like all of America in 1941, the two are forever linked.
When we think of World War II, we envision an America that was united behind the war efforts. Yet between September 1939 and December 1941, Chicago was the scene of vigorous debates and strong objections to American involvement in the European War.
All that changed on December 7, 1941 with the attack on Pearl Harbor. Like it or not, the war was no longer isolated to a European conflict. America could no longer sit on the sidelines. Life as we knew it was forever changed.
There were those who still objected for a variety of personal and religious reasons. But for the most part, Americans answered the call to make whatever sacrifices our country asked. By the end of the war, the average Chicago block had given seven of its residents to fight the war. Many did not come home again. Those who remained at home attended massive rallies, bought heroic amounts of war bonds, endured food rationings and grew victory garden.
In Illinois, school children assembled fake bombs for the drills and even raised enough money selling war bonds that one Chicago Catholic School was actually able to fund an entire plane.
Residents of the Windy City blacked out windows and conducted practice air raid drills. Citizens prepared for the worst by filling the skies with smoke to simulate chemical attacks as a part of their readiness.
Woman manned factories, build weapons and even served in the military. No request was too much. No sacrifice too great.
In communities all around the country, when the war was finally over, people took to the streets in celebration. An Italian neighborhood in Chicago even held a massive spaghetti feed to celebrate.
So for today, let’s come together and celebrate like it’s 1945 Chicago Style! Let’s come together with a big bowl of spaghetti.
1 large Yellow Onion
4 Garlic Cloves
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 lbs Ground Beef
1 lb bulk Italian Sausage
1 large jar Spaghetti Sauce, any kind
2 cans diced Italian Style Tomatoes
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
1-1/2 tablespoon Italian Seasoning Blend
1/2 cup Red Wine
1-1/2 lbs Spaghetti Noodles
Peel and finely dice onion, set aside. Peel and finely mince garlic, set aside.
Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet. Cook chopped onions until soft, about 5 minutes. Add ground beef and Italian Sausage; cook until browned, breaking meat up as it cooks.
Drain meat well. Place into crock pot. Pour spaghetti sauce over meat. Add garlic, Italian Tomatoes, seasonings and wine. Stir to blend.
Cover and cook on LOW 8 hours. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta al dente. Make sure the water is at a full, rapid boil and well-salted before adding the noodles. Stir often and maintain a nice, dancing boil to prevent pasta from sticking together. Also, the sooner the sauce is mixed with the pasta, the better. If you have enough sauce, add some to the pasta immediately after draining. It will make serving the pasta easier.
Place pasta on plates, top with spaghetti sauce and serve. Don’t forget the garlic bread, Italian salads and plenty of wine. Salute.