Top | cafemama — an inconvenient life

eating and words at wordstock

(post, Sarah Gilbert)


primary-image, l

The best in food writing does not simply instruct a cook, give a list of ingredients and explain how these go together. No: the best in food writing is to slowly peel shards of skin from the fruit, exposing the flesh bit by bit so that at first you see its moist ripe redness, then smell its sweet acid scent, and then touch its supple squish-between-fingers, and finally put a bit to your lips, taste, and know something entirely new that you will never forget. The best in food writing is discovery, inspiration, putting up for the winter. The best in food writing tells a story of love first, food second, and wraps it all up with the brown paper of ingredients lists, methodology, truc.

When I read most about food is in the earliest of spring, when I am pushing my fingers into the dirt and watching anxiously over my baby kales and peas and bounding around the just-opened market at a near run, twirling with delight over cabbages and watercress. And again, as summer wanes, chills, becomes fall, and I am settling into cozy chairs with knitted things wrapped around me to dream of soups and savory pies and slow-cooked pears. It is this second time now, and as brilliant good fortune would have it, this year's Wordstock festival at the Oregon Convention Center has, as one of its three genre focuses, much writing about food.

The Wordstock guidebook pdf is a little difficult to navigate (I'm a fan, though, its mod design). I know that you, here, wish to eat up all the food events the festival has to offer, so I've compiled a guide. I'll be going to nearly every event I've listed here (but for some of the ones running concurrently) and I hope I'll see some of you in the audience, too. The Portland women's chefs and restaurateurs group will be meeting to picnic Saturday after the sessions and I'd love to have any of you join us!

Tuesday, October 6

 - 5 p.m. U-Pick, the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center. Community members are coming together for an event to lay out, edit and print a zine capturing community submissions of food, art and words. You’ll have to pre-register here.

Saturday, October 10
 - 3 p.m., Wieden+Kennedy Stage. Bill Thorness and Langdon Cook. Bill is author of Edible Heirlooms, a “beautiful book” about growing heirloom vegetables in the Pacific NW (Bill’s also a biker!). Langdon is author of the sparkling, entertaining story-book Fat of the Land, a series of essays about foraging in the Pacific Northwest. He is the reason I am seriously considering learning how to dig for razor clams (season opens soon!).
 - 4 p.m., Columbia Sportswear Stage. Seasons of Change Panel with Tom Malterre, Shannon Borg, and Piper Davis: ‘How much should people be encouraged to eat seasonal food? Hear three authors discuss the challenges of providing a seasonal menu, the impacts of rising demand on farmers and others aspects of eating seasonally.’ Tom is a certified nutritionist and co-author of the Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook. Piper is the daughter of Grand Central Bakery founder and now is co-owner and cuisine manager of the bakery operation, as well as having co-written the upcoming (October 6th!) and, for me, hugely anticipated Grand Central Baking Book. Shannon is a food writer and Slow Food Seattle member whose book’s quixotic and delightful nature is obvious just in reading its title, Chefs on the Farm: Recipes and Inspiration from the Quillisascut Farm School of the Domestic Arts.
 - 5 p.m., Columbia Sportswear Stage. Ellen Jackson, Piper Davis and Julie Richardson. Ellen is co-author of the Grand Central Baking Book, and has a very Portland history as pastry chef and chef de cuisine at Park Kitchen. Julie is co-owner of Baker & Spice, and gets cred for developing her career with a booth at the Portland Farmer’s Market. She’s the co-author of the dessert cookbook on the top of my wishlist, Rustic Fruit Desserts.
 - 5 p.m., University of Oregon Nonfiction Stage. Lisa Weasel and Lisa M. Hamilton. Weasel is the vastly well-educated writer of Food Fray: Inside the Controversy Over Genetic Food. She earned her PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Cambridge and she now teaches at Portland State. Some of her recent work on sugar beets is discussed in the latest issue of Oregon Humanities Magazine. Lisa Hamilton's book Deeply Rooted tells of several farmers who till against the tide of conventional agriculture. Hamilton also wrote a book on a Japanese form of natural agriculture, Farming to Create Heaven on Earth.

Sunday, October 11

 - 11 a.m., McMenamins Stage. Kate Hopkins. Kate is known online as the popular blogger Accidental Hedonist, and her book is 99 Drams of Whiskey.
 - 1 p.m., McMenamins Stage. Shannon Borg and Ivy Manning. Shannon returns to talk more about eating with the seasons along with Portland-based frequent Culinate contributor, writer and food-lover-with-abandon Ivy, whose books include The Farm to Table Cookbook and The Adaptable Feast, in which she explains how to alter seasonal recipes to please both the meat-eaters and vegetarians in your life.
 - 4 p.m., Wieden+Kennedy Stage. Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Tom Malterre, and Alissa Sergerston. Alissa, a cooking instructor in the Puget Sound, co-wrote Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook with Tom. Isa writes “The Post Punk Kitchen,” a public access vegan cooking show, and has written a number of vegan cookbooks, most recently, Vegan Brunch.