Dear Local Gourmands,
The line stretched to the back of the bar at K&M on Saturday for the BK Farmyards Pie Cook-off cum fundraiser. Bakers from around the borough toted homemade masterpieces draped gingerly with dishcloths, protected by vintage cake carriers, nestled into nifty wire travel racks. I’d woken up thinking about pie and hadn’t stopped for ten hours straight– the end result was an improvised creation I called the Happy Hour Pie– apples drunk with a honey/whiskey/butter glaze over a layer of goat cheese. Pie, as it turns out, makes a terrific bar snack. My roommate made a killer pear and cardamom pie, my friend Noah carefully crafted a pie of chocolate and sweet potato swirled together. The watering hole that was once a pierogi plant was packed to the hilt, bloggers video taped themselves as they got on line to submit their entries, documentary makers filmed the event organizers as they counted wads of cash from the supporters/eaters that streamed through the door. The crowd tried to play it off like this was just for fun, but an intense undercurrent of competition was palpable. Ten hours, two Greenmarkets, a call to my mother, and an afternoon cocktail to calm me down had gone into my pie alone. 62 similar stories showed up– all bakers who have made their way (along with their recipes) to Brooklyn from hometowns around the country. Variations on southern cream pies, midwestern summer berry pies, blue ribbon county fair pies were lined up for thoughtful inspection. As we waited for the judges to do their business, stories of grandmothers and Thanksgivings past filled the room. The music blared, the beer flowed freely, and eventually the crowd dove in. I’m sorry if you missed it– the results were tremendous. Best of all, BK Farmyards, the folks who brought us together, raised some serious dough, and I’m not talking about crust. The organization that aims to bring communities together by creating farms out of urban spaces push an educational agenda that includes eating seasonally, growing food locally, storing and preparing food, species biodiversity, and food democracy. “We aim to build a local food network that enhances the health of our culture, our people, and our environment.” You can still donate funds to help out with the creation of their 1-acre farm at the High School for Public Service that’ll be coming up this spring.
Monday, January 25, 6-9pm
Good Spirits at Almond
12 E. 22nd St.
Edible Manhattan and Brooklyn hosts their first annual cocktail party at Almond restaurant on 22nd St. Six local restaurants will pair food with six cocktails, including one made with the amazing local Tuthilltown hooch, another created with Rhum J.M. from Martinique, a beery quaff made with Heartland Brewery’s new keg series, a grapey mixer with Wolffer Estate Vineyards verjus, a concoction mixed with Dallis Coffee elixir, and more. Space is limited, so purchase tix now. Enter the code “cocktail” and the hosts will include a one-year subscription to Edible Manhattan for free.
Tuesday, January 26, 6-9
Slow Food NYC: The Manhattan Slur
155 Varick St.
The local chapter of Slow Food celebrates it’s first monthly cocktail meeting of the year at City Winery. Get together with like-minded local foodies who appreciate the “Slow” movement to talk about ideas and projects for the year ahead. For this evening of revelry City Winery will be extending their “Crush Hour” special: $15 for a carafe and $5 for a glass or tasting flight of any house-made tap wine.
Thursday, January 28, 6:30pm
Foodie Book Club: The Jungle
The Brooklyn Kitchen
616 Lorimer St., Williamsburg
The Brooklyn Kitchen kicks off this year’s Foodie Book Club series with a discussion of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle. “Published in 1906, this seminal work was written to highlight the plight of the working class and to remove from obscurity the corruption of the American meatpacking industry during the early 20th century.” Bring a dish to share, ’cause naturally the Foodie Book Club doubles as a pot luck.
Thursday, January 28, 7-9pm
The Great Oyster Shuck-off
Jimmy’s No. 43
43 E. 7th St.
Tickets, $20 (at the door)
Slap-downs, cook-offs, take-downs, and pretty much any other type of head-to-head cooking competition you can conceive of has graced the back room of Jimmy’s No. 43 over the years. From cassoulet to chowder to curry, we’ve made friends, made connections, and made some memories in this beer nook specially crafted for those devoted to the local food way of life in New York City. Jimmy’s had his heart set on oysters since September when we were all celebrating Henry Hudson’s legendary discovery. Ever since Jimmy’s devoted Thursday nights to local oysters. This Thursday he takes the local food scene to a new level with an oyster shuck-off. Oyster growers Karen Rivara and Jim Markow will talk about growing oysters and demonstrate their oyster shucking skills with 600-800 Peconic Pearls and Mystics. A selection of stouts and porters will be featured at the bar.
Sunday, January 31, 1-5pm
The Brooklyn Taco Experiment
The Bell House
149 7th St., Gowanus
Tickets, (advance) $20, (at the door) $25
Nick Suarez and Theo Peck of the Food Experiments bring on the next installment in their series of home cooking competitions with the Brooklyn Taco Experiment. Bring your best to the Bell House and show Brooklyn what you got going in your taco: enter the competition here. Tortillas will be provided to chefs by Tortilleria Chinantla. The judging panel includes Andrew Knowlton (Bon Appetit and Iron Chef judge), Cesar Fuentes (Executive Director of the Food Vendor’s Committee of Red Hook Park), Dave Vendley (Calexico), and Brandon Gillis (Bark Hot Dogs). Needless to say, the eating will be good, the competition fierce, the after party hot. A portion of the proceeds will benefit research for Ovarian Cancer.
Sunday, January 31, 1:30pm
Gastropolis: Finding Your Food ‘Voice’
Brooklyn Public Library, Dweck Center
Grand Army Plaza
Jonathan Deutsch, Ph.D. leads a discussion on the ways in which food conveys meaning and aspects of New York City cultural identities. Deutsch is co-editor of Gastropolis, a classically trained chef, and Associate Professor. He is the author of five books, including Culinary Improvisation. Panelists include Annie Hauck-Lawson, Ph.D., R.D. co-editor of Gastropolis. Annie is the president of the Association for the Study of Food and Society, an urban agriculturalist, one of four generations of Brooklyn food growers and gatherers. The ‘food voice’, a term of her origin, is represented in the works of all panelists here. Jessica B. Harris is a culinary historian and cookbook author who focuses on the food and foodways of the African Diaspora. Her forthcoming works include Rum Drinks and High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America. Mark Russ Federman is the third generation owner of Russ & Daughters an appetizing store which has been selling smoked, cured, and pickled fish products on The Lower East Side for approximately 100 years. Annie Lanzillotto, a widely published writer and performance artist wrote a chapter in Gastropolis entitled “Cosa Mangia Oggi” (Thing You Eat Today!) that regales readers with her Bronx Italian food voice journeys. Discussion and book signing to follow.
Sunday, January 31, 5-10pm
Earthquake Relief Benefit Dinner at Palo Santo
652 Union St., Park Slope
Reservations, $50 (718-636-6311)
Chef Jacques Gautier serves a three-course prix-fixe menu of traditional Haitian dishes to raise funds for the Rural Haiti Project which is working to provide relief to those affected by the recent earthquake. Tickets include food, beverage, tax and tip. RSVP by phone to make a reservation: 718-636-6311.
Of note a few weeks down the road…
Wednesday, February 3, 4-6pm
Why (and exactly how) New York Simply Loves Italian
NYU Fales Library
70 Washington Square South
Tickets, $10 (RSVP to 212.992.9081 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
Chris Cannon, Manhattan restaurateur, William Grimes, author and former restaurant critic for The New York Times, Elena Kostioukovitch, author of Why Italians Love to Talk About Food, and Fabio Parasecoli along with moderator Clark Wolf, food and restaurant consultant, talk over New York’s obsession and long-time love of Italian food.
Wednesday, February 3, 10am-12pm
Rally to Legalize Beekeeping in NYC
125 Worth St, Rm 330
As you have probably heard by now, beekeeping is still deemed illegal in our fare city. Along with a committed corps of urban beekeepers and local honey lovers (including some politicians), Just Food has been rallying to turn the tides and make this important practice legal. On Wednesday, February 3, the Department and Board of Health and Mental Hygiene is convening a Public Hearing on the amendment to Health Code 161, in which article 161.01 currently bans beekeeping. Make your opinion heard. Give testimony in support of honeybees and beekeepers in the five boroughs. Oral testimony can be given at the Public Hearing on February 3rd, 10am-12pm at 125 Worth Street, NYC, Room 330. For questions or to RSVP, contact Nadia@justfood.org. For background information on Just Food’s New York City beekeeping campaign, go to http://www.justfood.org/food-justice/campaigns.
Friday, February 5, 8pm
Grub Party at East New York Farms
The United Community Centers
613 New Lots Ave. at the corner of Schenck Ave.
Grub parties bring communities, groups, and organizations together to share a good meal and conversation centered on the theme of local food. Join East New York Farms and friends (including Jin’s Journey, Food Security Roundtable, Malcom X Grassroots Movement, Brooklyn Food Coalition, and United Community Centers) for a potluck Grub dinner on February 5. Bring a dish to share (along with the recipe), as well as a plate, a cup, and your own utensils. Come get your grub on with chefs, cooks, gardeners, food activists, food bloggers and fellow foodies of Brooklyn, and learn what good food initiatives and activities are afoot in our community.
Sunday, February 7, noon-3pm
Basic Urban Bee Keeping Courses
University Settlement at the Houston Street Center
Registration for four-week course, $100
Let the New York City Beekeeper’s Association help you make good on the sweetest New Year’s resolution possible: let 2010 be the year you become an urban beekeeper. Yes, you! The NYCBA is offering two courses in 2010 for the absolute beginner and novice beekeeper. Each course is 12 hours long, spread out over four Sundays.
The cost of the course is $100.00 for the entire twelve-hour course, all of which goes towards room rental and the NYCBA. NYCBA’s volunteer instructors are professional beekeepers with a collective half century of experience. February classes commence on 2/7, 2/14, 2/21, and 2/28. The second series, in March, will be held on 3/7, 3/14, 3/21, and 3/28.
Wednesday, February 10, 4:30-8:30pm
Our World 2030: Preparing a New Generation for a Sustainable Future
The City College of New York
160 Convent Avenue
Shepard Hall, Room 550
Register here, (the event is free)
This discussion will explore why the economic viability and well-being of every community depends on education for sustainability and the transformation to a green economy. Will examine the critical issues of education and workforce training needed to leverage the emerging green economy—including issues of inclusion that minority populations and communities face in tapping the potential of a sustainable future.
Tuesday, February 16, 6:30-8pm
Eat What You Grow, Grow What You Eat
The Brooklyn Kitchen Labs
100 Frost St., Williamsburg
Rooftop farmer and founder of Growing Chefs, Annie Novak, leads a series of classes at the Brooklyn Kitchen Labs on how to start your own edible urban garden. Over the course of four class sessions she’ll guide students through the necessary winter-time tasks, seed ordering, and plot preparation to make way for a successful growing season ahead. Sign up now as this course is sure to sell out fast!
Thursday, February 18, 6:30pm
Southern Cooking in New York City
The Museum of the City of New York
1220 Fifth Ave.
Reservations required, purchase tickets here
The Museum of the City of New York, in partnership with the Southern Foodways Alliance and Mississippi Development Authority/Division of Tourism, will host a discussion focusing on how The Great Migration transformed the culinary culture of the North. Leading the discussion are Jessica Harris, author of a forthcoming history of African-American foodways, and one of the 50 founders of the Southern Foodways Alliance. In 2007, she took leave from Queens College (where she is a full professor) to assume the Ray Charles Chair at Dillard University in New Orleans. And Ted Lee, one of the James Beard award-winning Charleston Lee brothers. Ted, along with his brother, Matt Lee, is at work on a book of essays about New York City food culture. The work will certainly examine the influence that South Carolina natives have had on New York, but at its core, the book will be a celebration of the multicultural delights of our nation’s culinary capitol. John T Edge will moderate the discussion.
Sunday, February 28, 8:30am-6pm
Just Food’s Annual CSA in NYC Conference
Teacher’s College, Columbia University
The great thing about the off season (as it were) is that it gives us all a little down time (or at least time indoors) to plot and plan for the year ahead. Take part in Just Food’s annual CSA in NYC Conference on February 28 to converse with farmers, food activists, and advocates from around the city and state to talk about how to start a CSA, how to strengthen the one you are a part of, issues facing regional farmers, and how we can all maximize our roles in the movement to increase access to locally grown food throughout the city.