PDX Women Chefs & Restaurateurs


Stories and food at Wordstock
October 2, 2009, 10:01 am
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Each time I attend one of our meetings, I come away remembering two things: the food, and the stories. I can see Elizabeth Montes’ eyes describing her desire to create chocolate that is, not sexy, but sensual. I can imagine the bewilderment in the Nostrana walk-in when Kelly Myers was considering what to do with 80 pounds of tiny, tart, beautiful wild plums. I can taste the idea of the foods you describe, imagine, complex and amazing, tomatillo lime sorbet, habanero chocolate cake.

Given my love for stories, and food, and hearing storytellers up close and personal, you’ll understand my thrill when I learned that this year’s Wordstock was focusing on a few genres and one of those was food. I think you’ll agree that the writers I’m excited to see are masters of the storytelling art, like Lisa M Hamilton, whose book Deeply Rooted tells of several farmers who walk against the tide of conventional agriculture. Another is Shannon Borg, 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.

Will you come with me? Next Saturday, October 10, several sessions in the afternoon are focused around food and (mostly) local women writers. At 6 p.m., after the sessions, let’s get together for a “picnic” potluck at the convention center. I’ll be attending sessions on Sunday, too, and hope I’ll see some of you on both days. Tickets for the festival are $5 per day.

Saturday food sessions:

  • 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 famers 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.
  • 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. Hamilton also wrote a book on a Japanese form of natural agriculture, Farming to Create Heaven on Earth.

Sunday food sessions:

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this event earlier in the week: the creation of U-Pick at the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center. It’ll be a food, art, and words cookbook zine. From 5 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 6, zinesters will gather for a community event to lay out, edit and print a zine capturing community submissions. You’ll have to pre-register here.

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