Thursday, November 15, 2007

Talking With Your Mouth Full

On Tuesday evening, Leite’s Culinaria hosted its popular Talking With Your Mouth Full event outside New York for the first time here at the Richard Hugo House. It was a great night with a packed audience. The only major downside was that after months of planning, David Leite couldn't make it. (A nasty fall resulted in the need for surgery on his ankle the following day...) However, Leite's Culinaria editors Janet Boileau and Linda Avery handily managed the evening.

A sound engineer was on board for the evening, so hopefully we will have some audio and video highlights to post here soon. For now, a brief overview:
  • To wet the palate, Jess Thompson read the tale of her dinner at the experimental restaurant Alinea was part cultural commentator/part stand-up comic routine with the absurdity of model-types assuring silverware be placed atop a special pillow and serving ping pong balls. (You can read a variation of what she peformed at her blog.)
  • Angela Garbes read “Gimme Head,” a story of luscious praise for offal. They are not mere words; you could see Angela’s passion for what Anthony Bourdain calls “The Nasty Bits” as she read in her lovely, lusty perfect-for-radio voice. You can read her story on The Stranger’s site.

  • Local top chef Greg Atkinson explained his risotto for the masses with his usual grace. He even advised that arbrorio rice isn't necessary, just your usual rice. A recipe for his pumpkin risotto can be found here.
    Seattle Times restaurant critic Nancy Leson introduced us to the madness of her disorganized freezers. She has not one, not two, but three freezers. (You can read the story here, and hear her talk about that story and others here..)

  • Greg Bulmash read a touching poem about how a bowl of plums led to the realization that a relationship was dying...
  • My pal Nicole Aloni offered a sharp contrast to the meal at Alinea with an amazingly down-home-country-style evening at Wool Growers. The food came in enormous portions and would not stop coming… and no one could stop laughing. You can read the story on her site.

  • I finally met Jessica Maxwell in the flesh; the Salem-based food writer and I have been email friends since 2004. She read her story "Pride of the Norwegian Wood" from the May issue of Gourmet. (It’s the first hunting story that Gourmet has ever run, interestingly enough.) I couldn’t find a link to her story online, but you can read about the hunt she went on here.

  • Of course, Jessica read with all these great Scandinavian accents so when it when I brought up the rear by reading “Thanksgiving in Paris,” the epilogue of my book The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry, I couldn’t do my usual French accents – they came out Norwegian. Thanks Yessica!

    Afterward, a big chunk of the audience headed over to Tom Douglas’ catering spot, Palace Ballroom. In David’s absence, Tom presided as MC of the dinner. He was in good form, alternating between mixed drinks and wine in one hand, the mic in the other. The menu was designed around the readings, so as passed appetizers, he had cinnamon-tinged bacon and smoked cheese under glass. (You lifted up the glass; the “smoke” inside was supposed to be released – a nod to the molecular gastronomy style food at Alinea.) For the main dinner were scrumptious lamb chops.

    I did not win one of the culinary dinner packages provided by sponsor Salish Lodge as silent auction prizes, but I did get to keep some of the leftover chocolates from Theo’s Chocolates and a pack of Dry Soda. I’d never had Dry Soda, a new company based in my old neighborhood of Pioneer Square. Could be the subject of another post…

    Thanks to everyone for making it such a great evening.

    Photo above, from left to right: me, Nicole Aloni, Greg Atkinson (back), Jessica Maxwell, Greg Bulmash (back), Jess Thompson, Nancy Leson (hiding behind the program), Angela Garbes.

    Why is Nancy behind the program? She's a critic, people

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Jennifer said...

Enjoyed this event very much! I had not been to a Hugo House event before, nor to the Tom Douglas catering restaurant (palace ballroom). Looking forward to another night like this one!

November 16, 2007 at 6:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great time! Thanks for the invitation.

November 17, 2007 at 4:11 PM  

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