Chewing the fat about food

It promises to be a lively, thoughtful conversation Dec. 1 when novelist and Hastings native J. Ryan Stradal and local food writer Beth Dooley chat about today’s food scene with stories of farmers, cheesemakers, butchers, home cooks, chefs, sommeliers, restaurateurs and more. The event is part of the University of Minnesota’s Kirschner Lecture Series, named for the school’s collection of more than 1,300 books on cooking. Stradal’s “Kitchens of the Great Midwest,” about a young Minnesota woman who becomes a world-renowned chef, is a bestseller, while Dooley is a beloved champion of local, organic foods. Her latest book, “In Winter’s Kitchen,” is an evocative collection of essays about food and community.

They’ll speak at 7 p.m. Dec. 1 in the Cowles Auditorium, Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, 301 19th Av. S., Mpls. The event is free.

MN in Good Food Awards

Five Minnesota food artisans are finalists in this year’s Good Food Awards, which laud purveyors that have environmentally sound agriculture practices, good animal husbandry, sourcing transparency and responsible relationships throughout the supply chain. Representing 14 categories and 38 states, the finalists were chosen in a blind tasting of 2,059 entries. Winners will be announced Jan. 20. They are: HeathGlen Farm and Kitchen for its Blueberry Pomegranate Jelly; Red Table Meat Co. for its Speck and Boldog charcuterie; Vikre Distillery for its Boreal Juniper Gin; Spyhouse Coffee Roasting Co. for its Ethiopia/Kayon Mountain beans, and Grandma’s Gourmets for its Spicy Maple Bread-and-Butter Pickles and Bloody Pickles. For all finalists, visit

Tea time for gifters

Mrs. Kelly’s Tea hosts its annual tea-tasting weekend Dec. 3-4 at the Grain Belt Brewery Warehouse, 77 13th Av. NE., Mpls. Mindy Kelly will have more than 100 teas made to sample and buy, as well as an expert tea blender on hand to fill special requests. As always, there will be food items from other Minnesota purveyors of deliciousness. Admission is free, but a donation of $2 or a nonperishable food item would be nice; they go to Perspectives Kids Cafe and Second Harvest Heartland. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Details at


Mississippi Market shows its stuff

St. Paul’s Mississippi Market Natural Foods Co-op hosts its annual Holiday Sampler Tasting & Gift Fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 3 at its 740 E. 7th Street store. Vendors include B.T. McElrath Chocolatier, Bare Honey, Veriditas Botanicals, Thousand Hills Cattle Co., Deer Creek Cheese and more. Visitors will have the chance to decorate holiday sugar cookies, make a holiday card, sample and shop, and enter to win prizes, including an inflatable kayak. Additional in-store holiday sampling and demo days will be on Dec. 10 at the co-op at 622 Selby Av. and Dec. 17 at the store at 1500 W. 7th St., during the same hours.