The Great Minnesota Get-Together gives the Taste staff a chance to get together with you. We'll be at the fair in force on opening day, with Taste editor Lee Svitak Dean in the Star Tribune booth (on Carnes Avenue by the grandstand) at 10 a.m. She'll present a food demonstration at 1 p.m. on the Saint Agnes Baking Stage in the Creative Activities Building. Also Thursday, Kim Ode will demonstrate how to make rhubarb meringue bars at 11 a.m. on the Saint Agnes stage. Bill Ward, the Strib's wine expert, will be talking to fairgoers at noon Monday in the Star Tribune booth. Stop by! We'd love to visit with you.

Basically basil

Summer and basil are a match made in heaven, so celebrate the basil harvest at Basil Snail, a Slow Food Minnesota event at 3 p.m. Sunday at Garden Farme, 7363 175th Av. NW. in Ramsey. Erik Sather of Bar La Grassa will serve a multicourse meal with Garden Farme's basil grown by Bruce Bacon, who supplies many restaurants. Sather will do a pesto-making demo, Bacon will lead a salad walk and Ken Meter will talk about the farmer-consumer connection. There will be fresh herb-ade and water, but bring any other beverages preferred. No pets. Tickets are $35 for members, $40 for nonmembers. To reserve online, visit

Cookbook niches filling

Better Homes and Gardens has just published "The New Junior Cookbook" in the trademark red plaid cover. Designed for 5- to 12-year-olds, the book features 60 recipes with short ingredient lists and easy step-by-step instructions, plus lots of photos. Special features include cooking basics, kitchen safety, menu planning, basic nutrition information and how to read food labels. Price is $16.99.

The National Braille Press offers "Stir It Up! Recipes and Techniques for Young Blind Cooks," for blind children and their parents. The book, in both large-print and braille formats, allows sighted parents to read recipes and cooking tips with their visually impaired child. It features 24 kid-friendly recipes with info about kitchen safety and education, plus a compilation of "adaptive strategies" for young blind cooks, such as tips for cracking an egg or kneading dough. Available for $20 through

A sustainable soiree

The Mill City Farmers Market Gala will be held Sept. 9 at its market along the Mississippi riverfront. The fundraiser will feature local foods including paella made with lamb sausage, chicken and vegetables, harvest vegetable dishes, artisan cheeses and a special dessert. The action begins at 3 p.m. with a reception of herb-infused cocktails, local beer and wine and a "green carpet" photo op. Tickets are $125, with proceeds supporting sustainable agriculture, education and outreach. For more info, visit