Maestro, a little appropriate music, please!
Kielbasa is called Polish sausage in Chicago, to distinguish it from German sausage, Italian sausage, etc. Since Chicago has the second-largest Polish population of any city in the world (Warsaw is #1), Polish sausage is ubiquitous there. In fact, when Mary and I got married, we had a traditional CBS dinner at the reception: chicken with dumplings, beef with gravy, and Polish sausage with sauerkraut.
Makes me hungry just thinking about it…
The Maxwell Street Market closed (or, rather, relocated) a number of years ago so the University of Illinois at Chicago could expand, but it used to be the place to go to get bargains on Sunday mornings (usually things that “fell off a truck,” if you know what I mean). It was also the place to go to hear the blues and to get a Maxwell Street Polish, a chunk of Polish sausage on a bun with grilled onions and mustard. I used to ride the Halsted bus through that neighborhood on my way to and from work, and there were two stands on Halsted that both claimed to sell the “original.” No matter what day of the week it was, you could smell the Polish sausage cooking.
My father-in-law used to go down there on Sunday mornings to see what bargains he could get. Any time I see a picture of Maxwell Street, I look for him.
Our neighborhood was home to the Baltic Bakery. They sold bread (particularly rye) and other baked goods, of course, but they also sold Polish sausage that they made there and had hanging on a rope to dry. It was one of those places where you heard English, Polish, Lithuanian, Spanish, and probably a few other languages spoken. Food brings people together.