Food fascinates people. It has so many roles in daily life: as essential for survival, an emotional trigger, and a pleasure (among so many more), meaning that there is an endless world of topics—and thus speakers in Seattle—relating to food. On any given day, one could learn about growing (do GMO’s matter?), distribution (how can every child be fed?), cooking (chef demos), and remembering (food memoirists). Without cloning (anyone for a talk on cloning animals for meat?), it would be hard to get to every single talk about food in the city. To help winnow out some of the best events, here’s a list of places and organizations that consistently host great talks about different facets of the food world.
The food-obsessive’s home-away-from-home: an entire bookstore devoted solely to food. Owner Lara Hamilton works hard to bring people together in a casual way that feels like gathering around the stove to smell what’s cooking. The schedule is packed with book-signings, author talks, and even a pop-up bakeshop. Many events are free, and usually include a small snack. Check carefully, because some can be quite expensive, though they generally involve a full meal and/or copy of the book being presented. Find more information at BookLarder.com.
Slow Food Seattle
This local chapter of an international organization devoted to the protection and preservation of traditional foodways hosts educational events, activities, and a monthly food-related book club discussion. Events are sporadic and generally casual in nature, more like a group of friends sharing ideas than a formal presentation. Find more information and a calendar with both their own events and other relevant ones around town at SlowFoodSeattle.Wordpress.Com. Many events carry a small cost, extra for those who are not members.
King County Library Systems
The local libraries are a terrific source for author talks, educational speakers on food-related topics, and lessons on everything from the basics (Canning 101) to the obscure (Burmese communities and culinary traditions). KCLS features a series called “A Place at the Table,” which has the stated goal of “Inspiring cooks. Nourishing communities.” The wide-ranging (both in topic and in geographical location) events are free. Find more information and the full list at KCLS.org/Cooks/Programs.Cfm
Town Hall Seattle
Keeping an eye on the intellectual side of food, Town Hall hosts panels on how architecture affects restaurants, why GMO labeling is important enough to be on the ballot, and (an upcoming talk) how honey bees are affected by airplane flight paths. Talks are kept very affordable, usually around $5. Schedule, tickets, and information at TownHallSeattle.org