Post 51 – Let’s Talk About Food

Let’s talk about food.

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Let’s talk about the science of cooking hamburgers and why you should drink more wine.

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Let’s talk about sustainability, agriculture, raising chickens in your own backyard, and grinding your own hamburgers.

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Let’s talk about FOOD, but more than just gourmet restaurants and molecular gastronomy. Let’s talk about what makes a food desert, why people are hungry, and why restaurant workers are not paid minimum wage.

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We learned about all of these topics this weekend at the Let’s Talk About Food Festival in Copley Square.

With perfect weather to motivate us to head outdoors, Sam and I went into the city to see the demonstrations, booths, and exhibits on display for the day. Though the turnout was smaller than I expected, the event addressed some wonderful topics. Best of all the information was free and accessible to anyone walking by.

In front of the beautiful old Trinity Church, the organizers set up a main stage where chefs, nutritionists, geeky cooks, and restaurant owners alike displayed their talents and divulged their nutrition tips and cooking secrets. There were demos throughout the day in addition to the informational booths that you could visit at anytime. A few food trucks lined the streets, including my favorite, Bon Me, and a new truck called The Fresh Truck whose motto reads, “Driving food, health, and community.” Like a produce market on wheels, this converted school bus drives to Boston neighborhoods to offer affordable and healthy food options to those who lack such a market nearby.

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Though we weren’t brave enough to engage in conversation at the Endless Table sponsored by the Museum of Science, there was definitely the opportunity to literally talk about food.  I saw strangers gathering round tables, shaking hands, and exchanging words with the hope of making a change.

The Lexicon of Sustainability exhibit gave pictures and meaning to many food terms thrown around that very few of us understand.

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IMG_3604Like Permaculture (which I still can’t explain very well).

And if all your questions weren’t answered you could head over to the Ask a Chef or Ask a Nutritionist booth and have them field your questions.

One of my favorite parts was Kitchen Conversations – a cozy booth to record one’s food memories, stories, and recipes in order to create an oral history. I so wanted to share something, but I didn’t know where to start. When did I first learn to cook? Who taught me to to cook? What was the first recipe I made by myself? Stories I’ll have to save for my memoir…

As the on-stage demos lost our interest, we took advantage of the beautiful weather and wandered over to the Public Gah-den. The blue skies and summer temperatures had attracted several others including two brides and their grooms. We also saw a bride and groom in-the-making as one man got down on his knee to propose to his love, while their friends waited excitedly below the bridge clutching a bundle of balloons.

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All in all it was a beautiful day (despite my crackling voice and stuffed up nose) and I felt energized and excited to be part of the food world in Boston. I saw many people I knew and I even recognized many of Boston’s famous chefs by their faces.

Boston is a great city to talk about food and I love the conversations that have begun in the last few years. Food trucks have popped up to meet the mobile crowds, many farmers’ markets now accept SNAP (food stamps), and people have begun to talk about why food matters to everyone.

It’s a conversation that has only just begun (and that I have only very briefly touched on here) and I look forward to hearing more.

This October 24, 2013 will be Food Day, and with it, I hope,  a chance to celebrate food and educate ourselves on all things food-related. I look forward to sharing more with you in a few weeks.

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