Thursday, September 17, 2015

Cookbook Thursday: Food + Words in Birmingham

            For those of you who know me personally, I live for three things — traveling, a good book to read along the way and the enjoyment of a great meal. Here’s a festival to satisfy my wild cravings in all three — the 2015 Eat Drink Read Write Festival Oct. 3-9, 2015, in Birmingham, Alabama.
            Can I get a “Hot Damn?”
            The festival sponsored by the Birmingham Public Library and various sponsors brings together food, culinary arts and literature with a variety of events. Here’s what you can expect:
Tuesday, Oct. 6: “Appetizer Course: Human Library” at 6 p.m. at the Central Library, 2100 Park Place. Chefs, restaurateurs, food writers and culinary school staff will answer questions and provide brief mentorship sessions, modeled on the international concept known as the Human Library. The “books” available for checkout will include restaurateurs Chef Ryan Champion of Hotbox at Parkside, Marco Morosini of Silvertron Café, bartender William Batson of the United Bartenders Guild , bloggers Jessie Merlin and Scott Doty of What to Eat In Birmingham, Chef Eryka Perry of Not Just Catering, Chef Chris Vizzina of the Vizzina Group and an instructor from Lawson State’s Culinary Arts program. 
Wednesday, Oct. 7: “Main Course: Food Stories” at 6 p.m. at the Central Library, an evening of stories told by people of various backgrounds and cultural traditions with samples of foods featured in the stories. Local artist and stand-up comic Christopher Davis will host the free event.
Thursday, Oct. 8: “Dessert Course: Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito” at 7 p.m. at the Vulcan Park and Museum, 1701 Valley View Drive. Lewis and Poliafito co-own the New York City bakery Baked, and are the authors of a series of cookbooks. They will deliver “How Not to Build a Bakery,” discussing the mistakes they have made in their journey as well as the lucky breaks that have come their way. These semi-finalists for the 2015 James Beard Foundation’s Award for Outstanding Baker have been featured on OprahMartha Stewart, the Cooking Channel’s Unique Sweets and The Today Show. The Birmingham Public Library’s Young Professional Board is hosting an after-party with wine and dessert samples following the presentation for $15.
Friday, Oct. 9: “After Dinner Drinks: Bards and Brews Poetry Slam” at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library. Poets will compete in a slam for cash prizes while attendees sample beer, coffee, tea, and food truck goodies from Wind Creek Hospitality.
            For information, visit

Cheré Dastugue Coen is the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” She also writes Louisiana romances under the pen name of Cherie Claire, “A Cajun Dream” and “The Letter.” Write her at