Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Livin' in the Blurbs: Cookbook Social, Gifts for Food-Lovers, & a PDX Food 'Zine

Portland has got to have one of the highest per capita populations of published cookbook writers in the country. For a city its size, we have some of the best-selling chefs and authors to be found anywhere. And—lucky us—we have an annual book sale and fête in their honor, the PCA Cookbook Social, fortuitously timed to coincide with the holiday gift-giving season.

The Portland Culinary Alliance gave birth to this event six years ago, and this year it's hosted by James Beard Award-winning Chef Vitaly Paley of Headwaters restaurant. To make it even more interesting, this year they've added an artisan food component. On Sunday, December 2nd, you'll find nearly 20 of our finest authors ready with pens in hand to personalize a book for you or that special food-lover on your list, with many lying in wait to capture your imagination with treats from the pages of their tomes.

The event, which is free and is open to the public, will run from noon to 2 pm downtown at the Headwaters restaurant in the Heathman Hotel, in their event rooms upstairs at 1001 Southwest Broadway. From sous vide cooking to Russian cuisine, and from a best-selling memoir about butchery to making gourmet camping fare, plus books celebrating our local bounty of wild salmon, pears, wine and Dungeness crab, you're guaranteed to find the perfect pairing for cooks and readers here.

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Holidays are all about food around here, so Eat Oregon Now's slogan, "The Best Gifts Are Delicious!" hits all the right flavor notes for me. Plus, as I've said so often, those gifts that are self-liquidating and don't have to be dusted or take up valuable shelf space are perfect for those of us who are already guilt-ridden over not reading that book about the Japanese art of decluttering (not that I'm admitting anything here).

This festive holiday marketplace, which takes place on December 9th, will be jam-packed with nearly 90 of the state's hottest makers offering food, drink and culinary gift items, as well as ingredients for holiday entertaining and memorable meals with family and friends. Need host and hostess gifts for holiday parties? How about care packages of Oregon's finest to send to faraway friends and family? Want to stash away some goodness for your own holiday gatherings? You'll find all that and more here.

So grab your calendar and put a big red X on Sunday, December 9th, from 10 am to 5 pm, and plan to head to the Leftbank Annex, 101 North Weidler Street.

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Keeping secrets is not my strong suit, and I'm relieved as all get out to share news that I've been holding onto for several months now: Portland is about to get a brand new food magazine. After the demise of so many publications, from Edible Portland (in two incarnations) to the late, lamented Northwest Palate and MIX magazines—not to mention the disgrace that is the Oregonian's current Food Day section—a fellow named Brett Warnock is about to throw his hat in the ring with a (gasp) print magazine that he's calling Kitchen Table.

Warnock and his son, Carter.

I first heard about it when he contacted me to ask if, in the first issue, he could feature a story that I'd written about my mother's recipe for Spanish rice. "Our moms sound almost identical in their ability to straddle two worlds to make great food from scratch," he wrote, "But also be early adopters of the convenience of, well, convenience food. The taco seasoning and other packets of spices; and Kraft Mac & Cheese with hotdogs sliced into it with a splash of ketchup."

On the magazine's website Warnock describes his vision of "a new print and digital publication that connects adventurous souls, curious cooks and enthusiastic eaters with talented writers, artists, cartoonists and photographers who explore not only the how-to’s of cooking, but the why’s of eating."

Warnock himself is a native Oregonian with a resumé that includes twenty years publishing comics and graphic novels, with titles like "March" about Congressman John Lewis; Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell's "From Hell"; and "Blankets," a memoir from Craig Thompson, to his credit. He's just launched a Kickstarter to finance the first issue, scheduled for February, with plans to publish three issues in 2019, then move to a quarterly schedule thereafter.

Myself? I've pledged, and I'm wishing him the best.

Read more in my series Touching Up My Roots about reinventing childhood classics.


Farmer Jo said...

That does sound wonderful! I would love to see a local magazine again (or even the old FoodDay!)

Kathleen Bauer said...

I'm with you, Jo…hope springs eternal!

Lota said...

How do we buy the new mag?

Kathleen Bauer said...

Good question, Lota. I don't know if distribution details have been hammered out yet. I'll let folks know when I hear!