Dear Local Gourmands,
I’m having a hard time believing that today is December 1, but the way the calendar is looking, it feels very much like we’re already in the holiday swing of things. Every year I say to hell with a Christmas tree, let’s just drape lights on a rosemary plant and hang cookies from the branches (less wasteful, and so much more delicious)! My dad sells Christmas trees, though, and we always wind up with a beautiful spruce holding court in the living room and filling the house with its fantastic scent. We do, however, substitute glass ornaments for edible ones. If you’ve got Christmas cookies on your mind, you will enjoy this week’s Culinary Historians of New York lecture which focuses on the Dutch traditions that are at the core of our (now) very American holiday. NB: Do yourself a favor and find someone who will make you a speculaas cookie this year.
Tuesday, December 1, 8, & 15, 6-9pm
Cooking East to West Center for Family Life
345 43rd Street, Brooklyn
call 718-788-3500, or e-mail email@example.com
The craftswomen of Émigré Gourmet and chef instructors from Kingsborough Community College lead a three-part cooking class which will explore and demonstrate cuisines along the famous spice route. Under their guidance, cook your way from Southeast Asia, to the Middle East, to Latin America and the Caribbean, incorporating plenty of spice along the way.
Thursday, 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.”
Saturday, December 5, 2-3pm
Reading from The Locavore Way
Posman Books, Chelsea Market
75 9th Ave. btwn 15th and 16th Sts
Author Amy Cotler reads from her new book The Locavore Way: Discover and Enjoy the Pleasures of Locally Grown Food. She’ll be signing copies at the reading. By then you’ll surely be inspired to stroll through the market to shop for food. Stop by Dickson Farmstand Meats to pick up locally and sustainably raised sausage (delicious!), Ronnybrook Milk Bar for the best butter, milk, and cream in town, and then there’s Lucy’s Whey where you can find Amy Thompson courting the masses with exquisite wheels of American artisanal cheese.
Of note a few weeks down the road…
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.”
Sunday, December 13, 2pm
Culture in the Cucina: How Rome’s Jews are Cooking up the Past and Future
Park East Synagogue 164 E 68th St.
“Food writer, Leah Koenig, will discuss how certain traditional recipes – like Carciofi alla Guidia (deep fried artichokes) and Pizza Ebraica (a fruit cake-like dessert) – have attained iconic status in Italy’s oldest and largest Jewish center, Rome. She will also explore how today’s urban Jews relate to their culinary heritage. New Yorkers have their bagels, knish and egg creams. What dishes do Italian Jews turn to when they need a nosh, and how do these foods connect them to their past and their future?”
Tuesday, 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.