20 | November 27, 2019 | the mokena messenger LIFE & ARTS

Mokena Munchies

Ditch canned cranberry sauce for this

Matt’s Old Mokena

Once a Mokenian, always a Mokenian

Beth Krooswyk

Contributing Columnist

If you’ve never made

homemade cranberry

sauce with fresh berries,

then you are missing


Not only does it taste

so much better than the

canned version, but it’s

also fun because the cranberries

pop while cooking.

Hey, it’s the little things

that excite me.

This recipe comes from

my sister-in-law Michelle’s

sister Janet (did

you follow that?). She

recently posted a photo on

Facebook of this concoction

cooking on her stove

with the comment, “One

of my favorite things to

make… fresh cranberry


When I noticed in the

photo that she had included

pomegranate seeds, I

asked her for the recipe

because I like making

this side dish at this time

of year. And, of course, I

always love a new recipe.

Janet’s fresh cranberry sauce


• 1½ cups brown sugar

• 1½ cups water

• 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

• 1 (12 ounce) bag fresh cranberries,


• Seeds of 1 pomegranate

• 1 teaspoon cinnamon

• 1 teaspoon nutmeg


Janet’s fresh cranberry sauce is ideal for holiday

meals, plus it’s fun to make — the cranberries pop. Beth

Krooswyk/22nd Century Media

In addition to the

pomegranate seeds to

give it some crunch and

sweetness, what I appreciate

about Janet’s recipe is

that it uses brown sugar

instead of white sugar, and

the spices of cinnamon

and nutmeg instead of

orange zest.

When I made this sauce

to put with “Roasted

Crockpot Chicken,” all

four of us Kroosers really

enjoyed the flavor. Then

I was curious if this was

Janet’s own recipe.

“Yep, I played around

with it a couple of years

ago and stuck with this

one,” she said.

I’m going to stick with

this one from now on, too.

And, by the way, Janet

also said she loves when

the cranberries pop.

Combine all ingredients in a medium


Bring to a boil over medium heat until

cranberries start to pop and split

open, about 10 minutes.

Reduce heat and simmer for about

10 minutes, stirring often, or until all

cranberries are popped and sauce is a

deep red color.

Cool before serving (however, we ate it

warm because we couldn’t wait to try

it, and it was delicious).

Matt galik

Contributing Columnist

Hundreds of people

pass through our

Village every day

without giving it much

thought. For them it’s just

a way station along the

way. But others make Mokena

a destination, and at

that, some even come from

thousands of miles away.

Such was the case for a

young man named Edoardo

Campi, who came

all the way from Italy to

visit Mokena in the summer

of 1960, in what was

his first taste of America.

When visiting a new place,

an integral part of the experience

comes from who

shows it to you. Campi’s

hosts were none other than

beloved local residents,

the Ed Yunker family.

“Edo,” as Campi was

known by his friends,

hailed from the northern

Italian city of Milan, Italy’s

second most populated

after Rome. When he came

to Mokena that summer 59

years ago, Campi was a

handsome 17-year-old and

a student at the Instituto

Tecnico Industriale in his

home city. Before he set

foot on American soil, he

already had five years of

English instruction behind

him in school, and excelled

in the language.

In a letter from Campi

that was printed on the

front page of the May 20,

1960, edition of Mokena’s

Village newspaper, the

News-Bulletin, he stated

that spending a year in

America would “fulfill my

life’s dream” and help him

brush up on his already

sharp English skills.

Reaching Mokena was

a grueling 12-day globetrot.

The young man took a

train from Milan northwest

to Rotterdam in Holland,

where he joined a whopping

900 other Americabound

European students

and their date with the S.S.

Seven Seas, which ferried

them over the Atlantic to

New York, from whence

Campi took a bus to Chicago.

The trip to the Windy

City was a rocky one, as

the bus was due to arrive at

5:45 a.m. on Aug. 22, but

wound up not showing up

until 12:30 p.m. the same

day. Campi was the second

passenger to leave the bus,

and was gladly received

on the spot by 16-yearold

Ronald Yunker. Also

making up the welcoming

committee were Ronald’s

mother, Laverne Yunker,

and Donald D’Amico, assistant

superintendent of

Lincoln-Way High School.

Unluckily for the travel

weary Campi, the journey

to Mokena still had one

more hiccup, namely the

breakdown of the Lincoln-

Way station wagon. By

and by, the group made it

to the Village.

The Yunker farm on La-

Porte Road, today a priceless

Mokena landmark,

was Campi’s home for

exactly one year. At his

first dinner there, on the

night of his arrival, he and

the Yunkers enjoyed fried

chicken, a quintessential

American meal. While

in our midst, Campi was

a student at what is now

Lincoln-Way Central in

New Lenox.

The author of these

words is lucky enough to

be a buddy to some Yunker

family members, who put

him in touch with Campi,

with whom they still maintain

a relationship to this

day. Communicating via

e-mail over thousands of

transatlantic miles, Campi

recounted his time spent in

Mokena almost 60 years


“The USA was like a

different planet,” Campi

recalled. “To me it was

a new world. At the time

everybody was dreaming

about the USA. Back then,

the American way of life

was a must to be copied in

any country. I was a kid,

and to me everything I was

experiencing was exciting.”

Before he left for home,

the News-Bulletin managed

to get an interview

with Campi, who praised

local cuisine, saying that

“hot dogs, hamburgers and

barbeques are the greatest

American foods,” while

also explaining his dislike

for buttered bread, saying

simply that back home it

would be eaten dry. He

also mentioned that he was

surprised with Chicago,

having expected it to be

“shiny and large,” as the

paper put it. He thought

that every structure would

be a modern marvel, like

the Prudential Building, at

the time the tallest building

in the city.

In 1960, the Yunker

family opened their farm

home to Campi, and he

became an honorary resident

of our Village. He’s

known to come back from

time to time. Once one is a

Mokenian, one is always a


More magazines by this user
Similar magazines