Letters from Local Gourmands: The Inaugural

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Editor’s Note: Jeanne Hodesh, Edible Manhattan’s editorial assistant, also runs the fantastic weekly food newsletter and event round-up called Local Gourmands. We like getting her letters so much, we asked if we could share them here going forward. Be sure to check out her list of upcoming events after the letter–they’re also on our calendar to the right–and if you’d like to sign up to get these in your in-box, go to localgourmands.com.

Dear Local Gourmands,
I was mixing together chicken livers, butter, and Calvados on Sunday thinking my French grandmother would be very, very pleased with the granddaughter who once upon a time declared vegetarianism.  As a child when I refused the liver my parents had prepared for dinner, they called her up long distance from the dinner table so she could lecture me on the high notes of this delicacy. Lecture she did, but converted I was not.  And honestly, I haven’t been until this fall when I ventured to the other side at the first brave bite of sweet, rich, totally addictive chicken liver paté.  For my birthday dinner I thought this would be just the thing to impress my guests– some old friends, some new– on a rainy Sunday night.  And it was!  The livers, of course, came from the Fort Greene Greenmarket, and at $3 a pound, are one of the cheapest ways to feed your friends some buttery (local) love.  For recipe guidance I turned to the Silver Palate Cookbook which notes that once people realize paté is as easy to make as meatloaf, it ought to become just as popular.  Their recipe calls for freshly ground nutmeg, cloves, dry mustard, and a whole cup of currants– it’ll turn any non-believers right around.
Events for Tuesday, January 19-Saturday, February 13
70 Prince St.
Reservations, (212) 219-8570
Ever supportive of local and sustainable food through his work as a restauranteur, Peter Hoffman, chef and owner of Soho’s legendary Savoy, will feature cassoulet on his lunch and dinner menus.  On January 23 from 12:30-3:30pm cassoulet enthusiasts can sample seven variations on the classic Southern French dish ($65), or if you’re a curious home cook, a cassoulet class will be offered for $45 on January 30 from 2:30-4:30pm.  Proceeds benefit Chef’s Collaborative, an organization which supports sustainable food production by partnering regional farmers with restaurants.

Wednesday, January 20, 6-10pm

Vegetarian Dinner with Sixpoint Beer Pairing

Jimmy’s No. 43

43 E. 7th St.

Tickets, $45 (plus tax and gratuity)

Shane Welch of Red Hook-based Six Point Brewery hosts a five-course vegetarian dinner with local beer pairings.

Thursday, January 21, 6:30pm

Jimmy’s No. 43

43 E. 7th St.

Tickets, $25/members, $40/non-members

This month, the Culinary Historians of New York explore the history of animal fat over the last century, from its loss of status to being perceived as pure evil.

“At the turn of the 20th century lard, tallow, and butter had pride of place in our kitchens. Today they are replaced by “vegetable” oils and we are obsessed with low-fat food. Why? Our food certainly doesn’t taste better and we are not healthier. Who is responsible for this vilification of fat? The US Congress? The medical community? The media? The Duchess of Windsor?

Jennifer McLagan, the author of Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient with Recipes, named cookbook of the year by the James Beard Foundation, has been called courageous, contrarian, and even a little crazy. Join her for a discussion of why animal fat is important in our diet and why we should be eschewing anything low fat or fat-free. Learn to embrace butter, lard, and suet! Jennifer will challenge your relationship to fat and she’ll have you going back for seconds on the fatty treats we’ll be serving.”

Saturday, January 23, 6-11pm

Third Annual Pie Contest

K&M Bar

225 N. 8th St., Williamsburg

Suggested donation, $5

Whether you crave savory snacks or sweets, the annual Pie Contest at K&M bar is sure to lure you back for second and thirds.  Weigh in on your favorite combination in the People’s Choice category, or drop off your own best rendition of the classic American dessert at 5:30.  Guidelines follow:

a. The crust is homemade.

b. It’s not a pizza pie

c. you bring a modestly sized place card with a description of the pie ONLY written on it

Proceeds from the Contest benefit BK Farmyards.

Sunday, January 24 1:30pm

The Dynamic Gastropolis

Brooklyn Public Library, Dweck Center

Grand Army Plaza

Annie Hauck-Lawson leads a reading and discussion on the history and culture of food in New York City based on her book, Gastropolis: Food and New York City. Panelists include city-based food writers and scholars Andrew F. Smith, Cara De Silva, and Janet Poppendieck.


Of note a few weeks down the road…

Monday, January 25, 6-9pm

Good Spirits at Almond


12 E. 22nd St.

Tickets, $40

Edible Manhattan and Brooklyn hosts their first annual cocktail party at Almond restaurant on 22rd 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.

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.

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 afterparty 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, a culinary historian & cookbook author who focuses on the food & 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 the discussion.

Sunday, February 7, noon-3pm

Basic Urban Bee Keeping Courses

University Settlement at the Houston Street Center

273 Bowery
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.

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!

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