Amplified Test 3 – The Secret History of Indiana Pie

Sugar Cream Pie by Sarah Strierch.Boston Cream Pie may have found its way into our shared dessert lexicon, but what about Hoosier Cream pie? Or Indiana Persimmon Pie? News of these regional treats had never reached me before I heard this lecture by pastry chef Paula Haney. Haney has cultivated a devoted following in Chicago with her perfect pies – lemon chess; pork, sage and apple; lattice topped blueberry – since founding Hoosier Mama Pie Company in 2005.  Now, Haney unveils the secret history of Indiana pies,  from the Amish inspired “desperation pies” of her Indianapolis youth, to pies made from exotic native fruits like the wild American persimmon, paw paw, and custard apple.

In this excerpt, Haney goes into the delicious history the sugar cream or Hoosier Cream pie, Indiana’s official state pie as of 2009. (According to Haney, at the time of this lecture there was heated debate between the sugar cream camp and the persimmon custard camp.)


If you want a taste of Indiana’s official pie, Hoosier Mama carries it at their Chicago shop. Or, you can go on a pie pilgrimage and follow the Hoosier Pie Trail! Better yet, make your own, using a recipe like this one from Turkey Creek Lane.

Click here to hear the rest of Haney’s talk, including a section about the South Side’s endangered pie species, the bean pie. Sponsored by Chicago Culinary Historians, and recorded by Chicago Amplified, a program of Chicago Public Media.

Eugene’s Gary

A portrait of one Gary neighborhood through the eyes of one resident.

Part 1, 7:50

Part 2, 5:05

Part 3, 6:02

Eugene’s Gary is a portrait of one Gary, Indiana neighborhood through the eyes of Eugene Pawlak. Pawlak, who fixes up houses and is a life-long Gary resident, is the kind of guy you want as your neighbor. He looks out for kids riding bikes in the middle of the street, helps octogenarians carry in their groceries and knows everyone on the block.

But Pawlak’s happy-go-lucky disposition belies a starker past. As he joshes with his neighbors, slowly a portrait of Eugene himself emerges. A freak, on-the-job accident at U.S. Steel left him physically and emotionally broken; only by channeling his energy through his children was he able to find his footing again.

Produced in the style of cinema verite using complex but subtle on-site field recordings, (local birds, bicycle bells, the slow rumble of a passing train) the sparse but purposeful use of sound in Eugene’s Gary highlights and supports the unique timbre of each character’s voice.

This series was originally recorded and aired on during several live broadcasts in August of 2007.

Eugene’s Gary won 3rd place in the category of Best Use of Sound from the Indiana Chapter of the Society for Professional Journalists.

Lease Eugene’s Gary for broadcast through the Public Radio Exchange (PRX).

Ghosts of Gary

The story of one abandoned movie theater is the story of this very post-industrial city. People haunt places, and places haunt people.

The Palace Theater in Gary, IN.
The Palace Theater in Gary, IN.


Ghosts of Gary is an exploration of Gary, Indiana’s semi-abandoned downtown and historic past. Dorothy, a non-Indiana native, stumbles into Gary on a road trip and sees the remnants of its once vibrant downtown. Among the shuttered buildings is the stately Palace movie theater, long-closed. But how long closed? Has it been closed since the Jackson Five, still advertised on the theater’s marquee, were last together? Has Gary’s downtown been a ghost town that long?

With the help of some life-long Gary residents, an urban explorer, and an investigative journalist, Ghosts of Gary unravels the mystery of the Palace Theater and how long it has been closed. On the way the story touches upon John Dillinger’s escape from the Crown Point jail, the subbasements of Broadway Avenue and the economic exploits of Donald Trump.

The individual stories and interviews in this series originally aired on as part of several different live broadcasts between June and October of 2007. Production by Robin Amer. Additional production of title segment by Adam Yoffe and Tom Herman. Music by Mudboy and Black Forest/Black Sea. Voices, in order are: Dorothy Fennell, Laura Jones, Mr. Matthews, Eugene Pawlak, “Syd,” and Steve Walsh. Above photo by Dorothy Fennell.

Ghosts of Gary won Best Radio Documentary 2007 from the Indiana chapter of the Society for Professional Journalists. It was also nominated for a Peter Lisagor Award from the Chicago Headline Club in the Radio Documentary category.

Lease Ghosts of Gary for broadcast through the Public Radio Exchange (PRX).