Calling an event “Eat Drink Read Write” is a great way to get it included in a calendar about food and beverage consumption. The fact that it takes place at a library, which invites participants to relish eating adventurous foods for a week, is icing on the cake — so to speak.
The Birmingham Public Library brings back its popular festival this week starting Saturday October 1. The 2016 Eat, Drink, Read, Write Festival is “dedicated to the idea that taking a risk and seeking out adventurous foods can result in great culinary experiences,” said Brandon C. Smith, coordinator of the event in a BPL press release.
Manager of the Eastwood Branch Library, Smith believes that good food is worth getting outside of your comfort zone. “Whether it’s trying a Thai restaurant located in a gas station, buying ribs that have been cooked in a 55-gallon steel drum smoker in a parking lot, or foraging for wild blackberries along an old fence line, some of the best meals I have ever had involved taking a little risk,” he said.
How risky are we talking about? Well, it starts with vegan — which may not sound all that scary — and eventually folds in some “fermented and foraged” foods — according to the BPL press release, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, and curtido will be included in a panel discussion moderated by the Birmingham News’s own Carla Jean Whitley — and art based on local children’s interpretations of adventurous food. The latter will not have to pass the edibility test.
But there’s much, much more to this year’s “Eat Drink Read Write Festival” as noted in this verbatim schedule of events:
Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016, 6 – 8 p.m., Central Library, 2100 Park Pl. — An Evening with Chef Bryant Terry
In illustrating why he is known as a premier food-justice activist, Terry will present a dynamic program in which he will discuss the need for a healthy, just, and sustainable food system as well as his passion for good food. Expect to be entertained with stories of how jazz, reggae, and soul music have influenced Chef Terry’s cooking. His unconventional presentation style with hip-hop interludes will delight you. Several local restaurants will offer samples of adventurous dishes for attendees to enjoy. This event will require $20 paid admission. Tickets are available at http://byrant_terry.eventbrite.com
Monday, Oct. 3, 2016, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m., Central Library, 2100 Park Pl. — Children’s Adventurous Food Art Reception
Delve into the minds of local children’s interpretations of adventurous food through this juried exhibit of artwork located on the First Floor gallery at the Central Library. The artwork was done by young patrons of BPL. The Junior League of Birmingham’s Project Yummy Van will provide healthy snacks and educate the young attendees on healthy eating and skills useful in the kitchen. Free admission.
Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m., Linn-Henley Research Library, 2100 Park PL. – Fermented & Foraged Food Panel Discussion
Pete Halupka and Lindsay Whiteaker of Harvest Roots Farm, Forage, & Ferment, Cameron Strouss of Deep Roots Apotheké, and Chef Thyme Randle of the Underground Cooking Academy will discuss fermented and foraged foods in a panel discussion moderated by Carla Jean Whitley, a reporter with al.com/The Birmingham News. Attendees will sample kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, and curtido from Harvest Roots, tonics from Deep Roots Apotheké, and lacto-fermented pickled vegetables from the Underground Cooking Academy. Free admission.
Thursday. Oct. 6, 2016, 7:30 – 8:30 pm, Wine Loft, 2200 First Ave. N- Happy Hour with Literary Cocktails
The Birmingham Public Library’s Young Professional board is presenting an evening of literary cocktails at the Wine Loft with complimentary hors d’oeuvres. Several of Birmingham’s top bartenders will compete in a contest in which they will create cocktails inspired by works of Latin American literature. Comedian Funny Maine will emcee this event that will take place in the heart of October’s Art Crawl festival. There is no admission for this event, but attendees must be 21 or older.
Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, 6:30 p.m., Central Library, 2100 Park Pl.- Bards & Brews Slam
The library’s popular Bards & Brews spoken word poetry and craft beer tasting event will close the festival. Poets will compete in a slam for cash prizes while attendees sample beer from craft breweries including SweetWater Brewing, Cahaba Brewing and Band of Brothers, as well as light hors d’oeuvres from Jim ‘N Nick’s, Babalu, and the Ranch House. Voice Porter, a performance artist and experienced poetry slam emcee, will host this fantastic evening at the Central Library, which is presented with assistance from the Alabama State Council on the Arts. Free admission.
Clearly, there’s a lot of culinary wisdom to be had from the Birmingham Public Library this week, and possibly a few new dishes for even the most adventurous to try. So take a fork, a spoon, a bib and your library card, pack up your pith helmet and you should be ready for the epicurean adventure of a lifetime.
The 2016 Eat Drink Read Write festival is a production sponsored by the BPL (2100 Park Place) and a long list of partners including the Birmingham Public Library Young Professionals Board, Deep Roots Apotheké, Dining Out with Comedienne Joy, Coca-Cola Bottling United, Jim ‘N Nicks Bar-B-Q, Silvertron Café, Tutwiler Hampton Inn & Suites, Harvest Roots Farm, Forage & Ferment, Michael’s Restaurant, Kalisha DigiMedia, Golden Flake, the Junior League of Birmingham, SweetWater Brewing, Cahaba Brewing, Band of Brothers Brewing, Cathead Vodka, Ranch House, Tropicaleo, Babalu Tapas & Tacos, Revolve, Jersey Boys, Edolyn’s Pies, Cowboy Chicken, Redeaux Café, and Not Just Catering. For more information, visit bplonline.org