Dear Local Gourmands,
In the early 1970’s my dad (still with a mop of hair, often with a thin cigarette dangling from his lip) owned a diner in downtown Ann Arbor called the Fleetwood. The 24-hour joint had no lock on the door, a line down the block more often than not, and drew the likes of Roberta Flack to the counter to take in a bowl of chili. I’ve heard stories about the Fleetwood my whole life (and I’ve run into people the world over who remember that diner as a celebrity character amidst the scene of hippie-happy renegade 1970’s Ann Arbor), though it was an operation that passed through my father’s hands long before my time. These days he runs a housewares and garden store across the street from the Fleetwood– he sells Le Creuset pots to home owners, but a piece of his heart will forever be true to short order cooking. Recently he acquired a Magic Chef 1930’s stove, and he’s been doing cooking demos for customers at his shop, Downtown Home and Garden. When I called to check in the other day he told me he was making a batch of Fleetwood chili for his customers. “I hadn’t made the recipe in 35 years,” he told me, but it re-surfaced as soon as he started to draw up his shopping list. His restaurant days get the better of him– he likes to shop in volume, and the ingredient list calls for #10 cans of beans– the recipe yields four gallons. “The only thing that was different,” he told me, “was that as I was stirring I kept looking over to my side expecting to see an ash tray.”
I wasn’t around to hang out at the Fleetwood’s counter when my dad was at the helm, but this week I’m gonna do my best to revive that famous bowl of chili (which cost $.17 to make and sold for $.50 with a side of oyster crackers). I’ll source my ingredients locally, and I’ll post pics (and a recipe) on the Local Gourmands blog. This Sunday Matt Timm’s hosts the fifth annual Brooklyn Chili Takedown. Whether it’s a taste of Ann Arbor’s past, or a spoonful of Brooklyn’s present, you’d do well to find an empty bowl, roll up your sleeves, and dig in.
Keeping you warm,
Through Friday, November 20
Housingworks’ Cookbook Sale
126 Crosby St.
It just so happens that the kick-off of the holiday cooking craze coincides with Independent Bookstore Week, and Housingworks is here to lure you into their indie lair of hardcovers and paperbacks with a spread of cookbooks you won’t be able to resist. And why should you? These pages are meant to be trucked home, spilt on, dog eared, and devoured. Feel free to buy more than you’ll ever be able to eat.
Wednesday, November 18, noon
Beard on Books: Gastropolis
James Beard House
167 W. 12th St
$20 donation suggested, free for students
This month’s installment of the brown bag lunch series, Beard on Books, features Gastropolis. Co-editors Jon Deutsch and Annie Hauk-Lawson speak along with Beard Foundation VP and Gastropolis contributor Mitchell Davis, bringing to life our city’s rich food history.
Thursday, November 19, 6:30-9pm
Jonathan Safran Foer reads from Eating Animals
Old First Reformed Church
7th Avenue and Carroll
Suggested donation, $10
Park Sloper Jonathan Safran Foer reads from his latest work, Eating Animals, in an event brought to you by the Community Bookstore. In his first non-fiction narrative, the acclaimed novelist explores the oh-so-personal decisions involved in choosing (wisely) what one cares to eat. Wine and cheese reception to follow– clearly a food category we all care deeply about.
Saturday, November 21, 1pm
261 Smith St, Carroll Gardens
We know you love on cheese– that goes without question. Head over to Smith St. to learn how to talk the talk of the caves, the molds, and the rinds you adore. Stinky Brooklyn takes you on a tasting tour through the basics of elevated cheese appreciation. Learn about the history of cheese making, the differences in milk types, fromage styles, and cheesy lore.
Sunday, November 22, 11am-4pm
New Amsterdam Market
South Street Seaport
Our most cherished local purveyors and restaurants fill the stalls of the New Amsterdam Market with their artisanal cheese, cured meat, house-made sausages, lobster rolls, raw honey, pumpkin ice cream, challah, olive oil, pork sandwiches, Long Island oysters, ginger beer, pickles, caramels, and chocolate. Come for brunch, fill your basket for Thanksgiving.
Sunday, November 22, 10am-4pm
Thanksgiving Market at Rooftop Farms
Eagle St., Greenpoint
For one last day the Rooftop Farms market sets up shop just in time to grace your feast day table with Brooklyn’s local produce.
Sunday, November 22, 4pm
The Brooklyn Chili Takedown
The Bell House
149 7th St
Back for more, the original Takedown– none other than the Chili Takedown– sweeps Brooklyn once again. Bring your empty bellies, your empty bowls, and get ready for the fiery goodness. Rachel Wharton of Edible Brooklyn and butchers from Marlow and Daughters will judge the borough’s best along with you, the people, who will vote in your faves for fabulous cash prizes.
Of note a few weeks down the road…
Monday, November 30, 7-8:30pm
427 7th Ave., Park Slope
I love it when brewers and bakers and pickle guys talk about bacteria “waking up” and taking action. Every time you will catch a twinkle in their eye– a fascination that’s contagious to anyone who either likes to hear a well-told story or enjoys all homespun kitchen-based projects. To this end, Beer Table invites Shane Welch from Sixpoint Craft Ales to discuss one of his favorite topics: fermentation.
Friday, December 3, 6:30
Culinary Historians of New York:
“Joyful Traditions: How the Dutch St. Nicholas Celebration Brought Us Santa, Presents, and Holiday Treats”
Mount Vernon Hotel Museum
417 East 61st Street
Food historian Peter Rose unravels American Christmas as we know it, tracing threads of tradition back to the settlement of New Amsterdam and its premiere winter feast, the Dutch celebration of St. Nicholas’s Day, on December 6. “Drawing on literature, religion, the fine arts, and especially foodways, Rose will reveal how St. Nicholas came to America and how he morphed into Santa Claus in the mid-nineteenth century to adapt to changing cultural dynamics. The program will include a tasting of traditional Dutch holiday foods, including a 17th-century holiday bread called “Duivekater,” marzipan-filled puff pastry “letters,” spiced “speculaas” cookies, and “olie-koecken,” forerunners of the doughnut, served with spiced “Bishop’s wine.”
Friday, Dec. 3 and Saturday, Dec. 4
Young Farmers Conference at Stone Barns
Registration is now open for this year’s Young Farmer’s Conference at Stone Barns.
Thursday, December 10, 6:30-10pm
Brooklyn Food Coalition Winter Party
388 Atlantic Ave. btwn Hoyt and Bond Sts.
Requested donation, $5-$50 (no one will be turned away)
The Brooklyn Food Coalition celebrates its first six months of action in the food democracy movement by toasting author Jan Poppendieck’s groundbreaking book, Free for All: Fixing School Food in America. Festivities wouldn’t be complete for this food-centric crew without a locally sourced dinner and cash bar. Join in!
Thursday, December 10, 6-10pm
Small Planet Fund Annual Party and Auction
Private Soho loft
Join Frances Moore Lappé and Anna Lappé for the annual Small Planet Fund Party and Auction, a memorable affair whose proceeds benefit the Small Planet Fund grantees and New York’s local food hero, Just Food. Join the event’s illustrious host committee and mother-daughter Lappé duo (who champion the good, fair food movement on a local and international level through their writing, activism, and philanthropy) for an evening of stimulating conversation and an irresistible silent auction. Contact Carrie@eventsthatmatter.net for additional information.
Saturday, December 12, 8:45am-5pm
NYC Food and Climate Summit
Skirball Center for the Performing Arts
566 LaGuardia Place
“Just Food, the Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and New York University present “NYC Food and Climate Summit: Creating a Platform for Change,” a day-long feast of workshops, training and action planning to increase awareness and action around our food system’s role in climate problems and solutions. The Summit will bring together some 1,000 community gardeners, local farmers, educators, advocates, city government leaders and concerned citizens, and will create a Platform for Change to spark grassroots mobilizations and policy advocacy in 2010 and beyond. The Summit is timed to coincide with the global UN climate change meeting in Copenhagen.”
December 15, 7pm
Anthology Film Archives
32 2nd Ave
Anthology Film Archives serves up these local food flicks on December 15:
WHAT’S “ORGANIC” ABOUT ORGANIC?: Shelley Rogers
BIG RIVER and TRUCK FARM: Curt Ellis & Ian Cheney
THE GREENHORNS: Severine von Tscarner Fleming
GROWN IN DETROIT: Manfred & Mascha Poppenk
FACES FROM THE NEW FARM: Liz Tylander, Kat Shiffler & Lara Sheets
[AS YET UNTITLED FILM ON CLIMATE CHANGE & FOOD SYSTEM]: Sara Grady
Author Anna Lappé will moderate a panel discussion with the film makers following the screening. At 9pm the party migrates to Jimmy’s No. 43 on E. 7th St. for post-movie snacks sourced from local purveyors Flying Pigs Farm, Schoolhouse Kitchen, Blue Isle Oyster Company, Hot Bread Kitchen, Violet Hill Farm, 3-Corner Field Farm, Rick’s Picks, Mama O’s Kimchee, and Dancing Ewe Farm. Tip at the tap for pints of Ommegang Beer from Cooperstown, NY.