Do people read in South Florida? Scan the Floridian before 10 a.m. and note the absence of someone reading a newspaper, a book, or a magazine -- even in digital form. Over at Old Fort Lauderdale Breakfast House, an employee made a comment while I was there a couple of weeks ago to the sole person he'd seen lately reading a hard copy of the Sunday paper. And as for our lone chain bookstore on North Federal: It's as forlorn as a New Jersey Transit station in the off-hours.
Look closely and you'll see we're not dead yet. Each morning at Brew off Himmarshee, regulars tear through copies of the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times, prepping for daily political discussions over coffee. The used-book section at Uncommon Grounds invites perusal at strange hours among quirky folks and a library of tchotchkes. And then there's the Miami Book Fair, which started this past Sunday and runs through the weekend.
Why this discussion on the food blog? There's a solid lineup worth the haul to see food people talk shop this week. Among the speakers is Gabrielle Hamilton, chef of New York's Prune, whose memoir, Blood, Bones, & Butter is "the best memoir by a chef ever," according to Anthony Bourdain.
After forking myself for being oblivious of last night's talk with Calvin Trillin, author of 9 million books as well as an aficionado on barbecue, wings, and snacking of all sorts, I've compiled this list of the rest of the week's offerings.
The daily tastings
Start the evenings at 5:30 p.m. with free food from area restaurants : Sample eats from Van Dyke Cafe on Wednesday before seeing indie filmmaker John Sayles; Soyka on Thursday before Pulitzer Prize winner Ron Suskind or novelist Dorothy Allison; or Tiramesu on Friday before History of Love author Nicole Krauss.
The weekend fare
Saturday's 11 a.m. lineup is the must-see free triple bill: James Beard-winner and the man behind the Dutch, Andrew Carmellini talks on American Flavor; Prune chef Gabrielle Hamilton dishes on Blood, Bones & Butter; and Jessica Harris discusses High on the Hog: A Culinary History From Africa to America.
There's also a 2 p.m. cooking demo with Sandra Gutierrez, author of The New Southern Latino Table.
At 12:30, catch Mark Kurlansky, author of Salt: A World History and Cod: A History of the Fish That Changed the World. Grab lunch, then catch the wrap-up talk at 3:30 p.m. with cookbook author and NPR columnist Linda Gassenheimer and Terry Walters on their new books and healthy eats.
Sunday at 3 p.m. "The Story of Food" talk is scheduled with Michael Schwartz of Michael's Genuine; Cheryl Tan, author of A Tiger in the Kitchen; and Mary Zamore, writer of The Sacred Table. And if you missed Sandra Gutierrez yesterday, at 4:30 p.m. she joins Daniel Orr on Caribbean cuisine and Raquel Rabade Roque, author of The Cuban Kitchen.
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