Food Truck Pros share quick and easy recipes for home

By Daniel Patton, March 18, 2020

 

Social distancing has elevated the kitchen to a new level of importance in America. Loosely defined as the practice of staying away from other people to avoid spreading a virus, it is one of the recently issued federal guidelines that are turning private homes into new favorite restaurants throughout Chicago.

To help keep things tasty and efficient, New Eastside News interviewed food truck owners and cooks to learn how the pros make tasty meals on limited supplies.

 

Mario Martinez’ Huevos a la Mexicana

“Everybody has eggs,” says Mario Martinez. “Everybody has onions, tomatoes. You can make Mexican Eggs.”

Mario Martinez

Martinez was born in Mexico City and immigrated to Chicago, where he built Tacos Mario’s, a two-truck restaurant that has been featured on Chicago’s Best for the past two years.

He offered the following recipe while managing one of his vehicles at Clark St. just south of Monroe St.

“It’s sliced onion, sliced tomato, and sliced hot peppers,” he explains. “Fry the vegetables together and, when they are ready, just throw in the eggs and stir it all up. That’s it: huevos a la Mexicana.”

The peppers can be either hot or sweet. “My favorite is Serrano pepper,” says Mario. “It’s tasty. It’s better than the jalapeno. It’s the perfect hot pepper for everything.”

The same fried ingredients can be placed on top of eggs over easy to make huevos rancheros, ideally with a couple fried tortillas underneath it all. 

The authentic versions of both recipes call for cilantro, if it’s available, and they can be spiced up with oregano, chile guajillo molido, paprika, and a dash of vinegar. Mario says mushrooms don’t hurt either.

 

Thomas Brewer’s Roast Chicken

Chicago native Thomas Brewer learned how to cook from watching YouTube at home in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood near 75th and Halsted. He used the skill to launch Whadda Jerk Food Truck — where Jamaican and Mexican cuisine come together in a crunchy taco shell — which can usually be found serving customers across from Northwestern Hospital at 251 E. Huron.

Thomas Brewer

“When I don’t have much stuff,” he says, “I hit the freezer and thaw some chicken thighs or chicken wings, some chicken legs.”

Although his preference is to grill the bird for a couple hours to make it tender, Brewer gave us an oven-friendly version for preparing the meal.

“If I have a whole chicken or hen in the freezer or in the refrigerator, I would season it up with some seasoning salt, pepper, onion garlic, and a little Caribbean spice,” he says. “Dry rub it on, put it in a pot, put butter on top, add a little water, and just let it simmer for about an hour and thirty minutes,” he says.

The chicken should roast at 375 degrees for one to two hours, depending on size. During that time, according to Brewer, “the steam from the water will start tearing that meat apart.”

The best way to serve it is over rice.

“The rice you put a cup in a pot and two cups of water, let it steam until it’s nice and fluffy, maybe about forty minutes,” says Brewer. “I put that at the bottom of the plate, take that chicken out the pot, place it on top, and you have a little feast there.”

 

Jaime Salinas’ Sopas Aguadas

When asked about simple dishes that go a long way, Mexi-Tacos cook Jaime Salinas remembers the sopas aguadas that he enjoyed while growing up in Toluca, Mexico, about 40 miles southwest of Mexico City.

Jaime Salinas

“It’s soup with noodles and a lot of juice, like a lot of chicken broth,” he says. “It’s not that many ingredients, and it’s not difficult to cook as long as you get tomatoes, chicken broth, noodles, vegetables, garlic, and onion.”

Jaime fries the noodles in oil for a few minutes, then adds the onion, garlic, and tomatoes for a few more minutes. When it all begins to simmer, he adds the broth and brings the pot to a boil for a minute, then reduces it back to a simmer.

“In Mexico, we prepare the simple things,” he says. “It’s very good, and you can feed as many people as you want because, with one pot, it lasts a lot.”

 

Mario Martinez, Jr’s Rice and Beans

Chicago native Mario Martinez, Jr. developed a knack for cooking from his father, the founder and owner of award-winning Tacos Mario’s. He recommends recipes that include beans and rice because, among other things, they are “easy to stock and won’t go bad.”

Mario Martinez, Jr.

“For the rice, first I fry it, actually, with oil,” he says. “You fry the rice and the garlic and the onion and then you want to add some chicken broth.” When the rice and chicken broth starts to boil, add the tomatoes, reduce it all to a simmer, and then just “cover it up about fifteen minutes.”

“You can store it in the fridge,” he adds and use it to complement beef, steak, pork, or whatever Type of protein you’ve stocked up on.”

 

Curly Adams’ Ham and Eggs

Curly Adams learned his way around a kitchen by growing up with four brothers in Chicago. “My mom made sure we all know how to cook,” he explains. Today he uses the skill in the Harold’s Chicken Shack food truck, often located on Huron across from Northwestern University Hospital. When it comes to quick and easy meals, he prefers the breakfast route.

Curly Adams and Jessica Jarmon

“Ham and eggs,” he continues. “I have my toast in first. Then I put my ham in the microwave. Then I scramble my eggs. So, ten minutes, breakfast is ready. That’s why you got that microwave.”

As one of seven kids — three boys and four girls — Adams’ coworker Jessica Jarmon not only learned how to make her own food but also to eat it fast. “When we used to be hungry, it used to be crackers, baloney,” she recalls. “Also, we had bread and syrup.”

Her other recommendations for cooking in a pinch include grits, “which is easy,” Oodles of Noodles (a just-add-water brand of ramen noodle), and oatmeal with sugar and butter.

 

Julio Quilez’ Tacos Autenticos

Julio Quilez

Julio Quilez is the manager of Mr. Quiles Mexican Food Truck and a self-taught cook. “I just watch and learn,” he says.

Although the truck’s most popular item is chicken quesadillas, he believes that “the easiest thing to cook” is tacos. “Just stock up on tortillas — corn, the best ones — and get some different Mexican spices. Fry them up, add seasoned meat and, for the authentic way, add onion and cilantro.” 

Volumes Bookstore begins new chapter in Gold Coast

by Doug Rapp

A popular Wicker Park bookstore has opened a second location at 900 North Michigan Shops in the Gold Coast. Rebecca George, who co-owns Volume Books with her sister Kimberly, said they were approached by the six-level shopping destination after they had a successful pop-up store at Water Tower Place during the 2018 holidays.

“They recognized that most of their clientele were more local and how they can serve the needs of that local community in a more effective way…I think our missions align a little bit,” George said

A former educator, George said the response to Volumes’ new downtown location, which opened in late September, has been positive.

“Everyone’s very thankful that there’s a bookstore nearby,” she said. “We already have a number of regulars we see on a weekly basis.”

Similar to their original location, the new Volumes will feature supplemental programming. George said they’re hosting weekly story time and may branch out beyond their fifth-floor location to do events in the Aster Hall space on the fifth and sixth floors. She added that they’re starting a happy hour book club next month and another afternoon book club catering to retirees living nearby.

George said they will host author events as well, including mystery/thriller writers in late March. John F. Hogan, who wrote a history of the Chicago Water Tower, spoke in December but bad weather hampered attendance, so they may reschedule that, George said.

“We’ve got lots of plans in the works,” she said, noting that 900 N. Michigan wants more programming for community building. “We’re just now getting into the programming aspect and what we hope to build over there.”

George said it is challenging to open a bookstore these days downtown.

“It’s like any bookstore—it’s a tough margin business, it’s a small margin business,” she said.

George said joining the established 900 North Michigan Shops makes it easier.

“No bookstore in today’s world could open ground level downtown,” she said. “It’s impossible. The cost is too insane anywhere in downtown Chicago…The trouble with being downtown right there is that in a vertical world, everyone’s really contained especially in the cold months.”

George said they’re hoping to reach out to businesses and hotels in the area to raise awareness and are considering a delivery service for customers with limited mobility. Despite the challenges of opening a new location, George said she’s pleased with what she, her sister and their employees have established.

“I really enjoy that community,” she said. “I’ve gotten to know a lot of really interesting people. I’m excited for what we can get done there in the world of books.”

Pinched on the River opens wine bar with dollar deal

by Doug Rapp

A local eatery is offering mid-week wine deals.

On Wednesdays, Pinched on the River, 443 E. Illinois St., is offering first glasses of wine for $1.

From 6 to 8 p.m. on hump days, customers can try a glass of red, white, rose or sparkling wine for a buck. The choices will be rotating varieties selected by staff, general manager Nasi Dimashi said. 

The wines will be offered upstairs at Pinched, where their coffee shop is located, but are also available downstairs at the main bar in the restaurant. 

Dimashi said the restaurant, which serves fast-casual eclectic Mediterranean food, started the deal in late January.

“People want to grab a quick drink,” Dimashi said. “We thought, why don’t we offer wine since we have so many delicious ones?” Customers aren’t obligated to eat but can grab a drink for a nice “mid-week break.”

“We want to bring some unique wines you don’t find daily yet they are delicious,” he said, noting that many came from countries not known for wine, such as Bulgaria and Slovenia.

Dimashi said his favorite is the Pullus pinot grigio from Slovenia, which is dry but looks like a rose since it’s fermented with the grape skins to give it a rosy shade.

“It’s a very interesting wine,” he said. 

The initial dollar wine night exceeded their expectations, Dimashi said. They thought a few people might stop by, but “the entire place filled up…which was a good problem to have,” he said.

The response from the neighborhood has been great, he said. “Overall the neighborhood has been very supportive. We’ve seen an increase in walk-in traffic.”

In addition to wine, Pinched offers cider and beer, both traditional and craft, including local breweries such as 312 and Two Brothers, which makes a special hazy IPA called Son of a Pinched exclusively for the restaurant. 

Happy hour at the main bar is 3 to 6 p.m. on weekdays. 

Pinched on the River, named because of the “pinch” of many flavors, Dimashi said, is the business’ second location. The original is in Lombard and owner Ranka Njegovan chose Streeterville when looking for restaurant space in the city.

“We wanted to be somewhere neighborhoody,” Dimashi said. “It’s a friendly environment, a family environment, and touristy with Navy Pier nearby…I love the neighborhood.”

Streeterville doctor’s class helps expectant parents know what to expect

by Stephanie Racine

Expectant parent classes can cost a substantial amount in downtown Chicago. For example, classes at Northwestern Hospital cost from $50-$120.

 But Dr. Daniel Weissbluth, a pediatrician who has an office in Northwestern’s campus in Streeterville, is out to buck the trend.

We figure it should be free,” he said. 

Dr. Weissbluth’s office offers free prenatal classes on topics including CPR and infant safety, breastfeeding, sleep and newborn care. 

“We saw an educational gap and we wanted to fill it,” he said.

The classes include important information for new parents. Dr. Weissbluth said most first-time parents are unaware of the sleep deprivation that comes from having a new baby.

New parent Jessica Kushner took the classes at Dr. Weissbluth’s office in preparation for her son Lorenzo, born Oct. 14, 2019. The most valuable class she took was Newborn Care: The First 48 Hours and Beyond, Dr. Weissbluth said. Newborn Care covers the delivery process in the hospital and what to expect once new parents arrive home.

“I would have been walking in blind,” Kushner said.

The internet is inundated with information about having a baby, but Dr. Weissbluth’s classes gave Kushner a baseline of truth, she said. 

The classes are intended for first-time parents and family members who want to attend are welcome—as long as they register in advance. 

The instructors offer their email address for participants to follow up with any questions they may have. Dr. Weissbluth’s office is also available for information. 

“We encourage questions,” Dr. Weissbluth said. 

Northwestern Hospital offers free tours of their triage, labor and delivery and postpartum floors at Prentice Women’s Hospital. Registration is required. Visit classes.nm.org for information. 

For other expectant parent classes, UChicago Medicine offers free classes at their Hyde Park location. Visit uchicagomedicine.org for information.

Dr. Weissbluth’s Streeterville office is at 737 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 820. For questions about the free classes or the practice, call (312) 202-0300. Register for classes at weissbluthpediatrics.com

Dr. Weissbluth also has offices in Bucktown and South Loop.

Freezin’ for a reason: Special Olympics’ Polar Plunge celebrates 20 years

by Doug Rapp

They’re freezin’ for a reason.

The 20th annual Chicago Polar Plunge to benefit Special Olympics Chicago is scheduled for Sunday, March 1, 2020, at North Avenue Beach. “Plungers” collect donations and pledge to jump into the icy waters of Lake Michigan.

“People are excited we’ve been doing this event this long,” said Heather Kundert, executive director of Special Olympics Chicago.

Kundert said they’re expecting 4,000 plungers, a combination of nearly 300 teams and individuals. Their goal, she said, is to raise $2,020,000 for the year 2020, all of which benefits the Chicago Special Olympics organization.

For the 20th anniversary, Kundert said they’re recognizing people who’ve participated since the beginning. Long-standing team Kidd Krue has raised over $42,000 and is the top non-corporate team. Some of the polar plunge founders attending this year include Gerry Henaghan, Pam Munizzi, Ernest Alvarado, Richard McAvoy and Michael Brady.

Kundert said they also want to recognize some other participating agencies, such as Envision and Misericordia, that support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

“We’re excited to partner with some of our sister agencies in a different way this year,” she said.

New this year, Kundert said, will be an “Olympic village,” where sponsors and partner agencies will have different fun activities to encourage people to learn about other agencies helping out people with disabilities.

Kundert also praised the park district and the dive team on hand during the plunge. 

“We’re really proud that the city has really embraced this,” she said. “We wouldn’t be able to do a lot of what we do at the scale we do it without the park district’s help and their partnerships.”

John Fahey, of Team Dan Fahey is plunging for the fourth time this year. His brother Daniel is a Special Olympics athlete, he said, who plays basketball and baseball among other sports at Mt. Greenwood Park. John Fahey said his team raised $38,000 last year but this year they’re hoping to raise $40,000.

“We know it’s a good cause…we wanted to give back a little,” Fahey said.

Fahey recalled how last year was exceptionally cold and ice had to be cleared to make way for the plungers, but it’s an experience he still enjoys.

“It’s pretty awesome,” he said of running into the chilly lake. “It’s exhilarating, you get a pretty big rush. The adrenaline’s pumping. You’re yelling and screaming out there with a bunch of your friends.”

Kundert said many of the participants like Fahey have a personal connection to the Special Olympics but many plungers just want to help out. 

“Really they’re just all trying to get behind the city of Chicago and what we’re doing and what we do for these individuals,” Kundert said. “They really believe in supporting individuals with intellectual disabilities.”
To register as a team or individual or to donate, visit https://sochicago.org/chicago-polar-plunge/.

The crust is crucial: l’Aventino brings next-generation Roman pizza to Streeterville

by Doug Rapp

When Adam Weisell would return to Rome after growing up there with his United Nations-employed parents,  he often heard about a new style of pizza. 

People would tell the budding chef about pinsa (pro- nounced “peen-sa”). 

“I’d go eat it and think, ‘This is delicious,’” Weisell said. He was used to the wide, thin-crust Roman pizzas but pinsa had a different crust—a crispy exterior with an airy texture, moist and fragrant inside.

Weisell loves pinsa so much that after nearly two decades cooking for others, including Mario Batali, he’s opened his own restaurant, L’Aventino Forno Romano, 355 E. Ohio St., featuring this “modern play on a very traditional Roman pizza.”

“Chicago is such a pizza town and yet there’s a style that’s vastly underrepresented here,” said Weisell, who has cooked in mostly Italian restaurants in New York City, San Francisco and Chicago, including Eataly.

“Pinsa hasn’t come across the U.S. in a big way and I’m hoping to be part of that,” Weisell added, noting that oval flatbread pizzas are popular throughout Italy and Europe. 

Open since late November, l’Aventino has three levels that seat 48, a full-service bar and patio that will open for warmer weather.

“It’s a little funky,” Weisell said. “It reminds me a lot of a Roman restaurant.”   

The menu features several pinsas, with a variety of top- pings and vegetarian-friendly options. Weisell said the crust  is made of soy, wheat and rice  ours and takes 48 hours to ferment, which increases its  flavor and digestibility.

“The reception has been overwhelmingly positive,” Weisell said. “Once people are in the door and eat it, I think most people are hooked.”

Weisell said l’Aventino, named after one of the seven hills ancient Rome was built on, has gotten a lot of foot traffic from people coming in out of curiosity.

“One of the appeals of the location is that people are going to be constantly walking by on their way to the (Northwestern Memorial) hospital or their way home from work,” he said.

Weisell said he’s pleased with how his  first restaurant is going.

“At the end of the day, this is dough with sauce and cheese on it, so it is not that different,” he said. “It’s just a slightly different style.”  

Local charities left short-handed after season of giving

by Jacqueline Covey

The Chicago Help Initiative gives free meals to guests who are in need. During the holidays, there is no shortage of volunteers, but post giving-season, this organization, like many non-profits in the area, becomes short-handed.

Executive Director of Chicago Help Initiative Doug Fraser sees an increase in volunteerism around Christmas each year, but he said that’s not when it’s needed. Between now and February, he’s calling on Christmas-time aides to  re-sign up with the organization. New volunteers are  always welcome, too. 

Every Wednesday, volunteers provide sit-down dinners to 130 guests and 70  take out meals as part of the Chicago Help Initiative free meals program. The idea is that providing a dignified experience fulfills a sense of place for participants. Before dinner, some guests take advantage of classes in  technology, creative writing and art facilitated by  Catholic Charities at their community center located at 721 N. LaSalle St.

“We are all a community, we all have each other,” said Sandra Dillion, a student in the knitting group. “We  share our ideas and our thoughts. If we get stuck, we are here to help each other out.”

The first dinner was in  2001 when Catholic Charities opened their space for  a weekly gathering with food donated from local restaurants. A speaker  mini-series was added,  then social and health services were brought in and  over the years relationships have been built between long time volunteers and guests.

“We have volunteers of all ages and backgrounds, some of whom have been  coming for years,” said Brigid Murphy of Catholic Charities. “There are lovely  relationships that have developed among volunteers  and supper guests.”

The organization has created a space built on  respect where social stigmas are broken down. For  a couple hours, guests can  enjoy the simple joy of having a warm meal in a warm  place with friends.

“What we’ve learned is  that if you treat a home- less person with respect…  we can get them off the  streets,” founder and president Jacqueline Hayes said.  “Efforts to help are good, but we fill them up with  such good feelings about themselves.”

As a Chicago real estate broker specializing in retail  leasing along the Magnificent Mile and Oak Street,  Hayes sought ways to  help the homeless population that congregated at  storefronts.

Now, 20 years after the  group began, the organization is still growing largely  as a result of a robust volunteer community.

For more information or to volunteer, contact the Chicago Help Initiative, 440 N Wells St., Suite 440, Chicago, (312) 448-0045  or visit chicagohelpinitiative.org  

‘Secret’ Ace to close: Gordon’s Ace family glue will continue to keep community strong

by Mat Cohen

It’s rare for a father-son duo to go to the local elementary school dressed as Santa and an elf to wish kids a merry Christmas. But for Jeremy Melnick and his dad, Les, it was to give back to the community they’ve been part of since 1950. Jeremy’s grandfather opened his first Gordon’s Ace Hardware store franchise on the corner of State  Street and Oak Street, neighboring Ogden Elementary School and expanded the number of their  stores over time to include a highly frequented but tucked away store at 680 N. Lakeshore Drive.

“It’s how I got started in the first place,” Jeremy Melnick said. “It was a daily, weekly conversation around the dinner table.”

 Melnick got his masters degree and left banking  21 years ago to partner with his dad in the family business. 

“In the back of my mind I think it was always  something I’d want to get into,” he said. “Twenty-one years later, here I am.”

Gordon’s Ace has eight locations, four scattered around downtown neighborhoods.

“We’ve been a part of it for so long,” Jeremy Melnick said. “There’s been an Ace store down here forever… you see generations of customers, which is always nice.”

 Gordon’s Ace didn’t always have the coverage  across the neighborhoods it has today.

“When we partnered with my dad we had a growth plan,” he said. “We opened our second store on Orleans in 2005. Eighteen months later we bought a four-store chain.

“We went from one to two, to six stores in a relatively short period of time from 2005 to 2007.”

The location in Streeterville, 680 N. Lake Shore Drive, has been nicknamed “the secret Ace” by its customers because there’s minimal signage.

The location, which has been in the neighbor- hood for 30 years, and owned by the Gordon’s for  seven, is closing the end of December.

 Store manager Bob Willis says he’s come to know many people throughout his 10 years as manager.

“They’re all sad to see us leaving,” he said. “It’s been the best part to help people and get to know people around the building and in the neighborhood.”

Despite being in the city, Gordon’s Ace stores create a local community, stocking such items as local barbecue sauce or humidity tools to suit high rises downtown.

The company gives back to the community everyday. Last year it raised $100,000 for Lurie Children’s Hospital.

They won’t rush into finding another Streeterville location, but with the right place and timing,  they hope to be back in the neighborhood soon.  

Streeterville Walks welcomes newcomers to the area

by Stephanie Racine

Streeterville Walks, a social walking program of Streeterville Neighborhood Advocates, has been around for nearly six years. 

Craig Kaiser, who organizes the walks, started the program as a neighborhood watch endeavor. But he noticed people who came on watch were much more interested in the social aspect, so the walk evolved.

The walk was then focused on hidden gems including public art, architecture, and businesses. Now, Streeterville Walks adds a different angle: welcoming newcomers to the neighborhood.

“We will introduce new people to the highlights of living [in Streeterville], including the usual history, art and architecture but also pointing out the great amenities like groceries, coffee shops, child care, pet care, parks etc.,” Kaiser said.

The first of these neighborhood welcome walks took place on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 10 a.m. The group met at the plaza next to the new Apple Store, on Michigan Avenue, just north of the river. Kaiser figured the recognizable location, plus the surrounding architecture, was a good place to start for newcomers.

New residents come to Streeterville frequently. With schools and hospitals in the area, including Northwestern Law and Northwestern Hospital, there’s a preponderance of newcomers every year. According to Kaiser, more than thirty thousand people live in Streeterville, along with ten thousand dogs.  

On the first walk, Kaiser took note of classic Streeterville lore, mentioning the story of its founder—George Wellington “Cap” Streeter. He also pointed out definitive restaurants in Streeterville, such as Robert’s Pizzeria, Yolk, and Lizzie McNeil’s. He spouted little-known architectural factoids, including the ordinance that Tribune Tower will always have an uninterrupted view of the lake.  

Christian and Janet Silge moved to Streeterville from Lake Forest about six months ago. “We were looking for a way to get to know the neighborhood a bit better,” said Christian Silge. They happened upon the Streeterville Walk on the neighborhood app NextDoor and have been happy with the experience.

“We love the fact that each walk has a different focus and we are always excited to learn some new tidbit of information or some historical significance of a street, building, park, monument, mural, or other artwork” said Silge.

The couple is happy to be more educated about the community and look forward to future walks. “Who knows, maybe we will lead some future walks ourselves,” said Silge.

Kaiser is hoping to partner with real estate agents in the area who sell or rent to newcomers, so they will have an opportunity to go on a walk and learn about the neighborhood, while also meeting their neighbors.

For more information about the Streeterville Walks program, email SNA60611@gmail.com, or join their official Streeterville Neighborhood Advocates Facebook group.

Local doctor finds freedom, uses real medical innovation to kill in fiction novel

By Mat Cohen

In the last scene of the 1977 film “Annie Hall,” Woody Allen jokes most people can’t break from a rut if they need the means it’s providing.

Dr. Michael Young, a Streeterville resident, had a private urology practice from 1991 to 2017 and is thankful he wasn’t dependent on a proverbial chicken providing him eggs. This led Young to break free of the medical industry and write his two books, The Illness of Medicine and Consequence of Murder.

“If you are stuck, but you don’t have any options and you need the eggs, you’re still stuck,” Young said. “I had an opportunity to say goodbye—I financially was secure and was able to cut that chain. I have other interests, other abilities and the means to pursue them.

“So I took advantage of that.”

Young’s other interests include medical innovation, underwater photography, teaching, riding his bike along Lake Michigan and writing. At the peak of his game, as the head of two departments and with a private practice, Young stepped away for those interests.

“I just got fatigued with where medicine was going,” he said. “It’s not that I don’t enjoy it, I just don’t enjoy the environment in which we have to practice.”

Currently, he is the director of the division of innovation in the Department of Urology at the University of Illinois Chicago and has been on radio shows discussing the state of the medical industry.

His first book, Illness of Medicine, published February 2018, recounts his 33 years of experience in the medical field.

“I wanted patients to understand what physicians are going through and I wanted physicians to understand what patients are going through,” he said. “I wanted both to see the other side of the table.”

Consequence of Murder, a fictional story published in June, uses a HydroGel to kill evil. The gel, which Young developed in real life for about a year, changes its state based on temperature. Its original purpose was to hold kidney stones still for doctors to break them down easier. But when the Office of Technology Management found other work in that area, the HydroGel was used to fictitiously take away lives instead.

“I’ve done all this work and now I can’t do anything with it,” he said. “What do you do when you get upset? Well you say, ‘I’m going to kill somebody,’ figuratively. So I decided I was going to use this stuff to kill somebody. It was my venting.

“So, that’s the process of murder. It’s a little warped, I know, but this is how I think.”

Christian Luciano, Ph.D., is a colleague of Young’s at UIC was impressed Young was able to turn the book into a mystery.

“It’s amazing how this involved a mystery novel,” he said. “It’s an extraordinary complex thing and he makes it understandable. The perfect balance between facts and details, but while still keeping the essence of what it is.”

Young said fictional writing is more challenging than nonfiction. He is currently writing his third book with many of the same characters overlapping from his second. 
For more information, visit https://michaeljyoungmd.com/.

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