Garlic Festival Aug. 15

Follow your nose, and your appetite, west of the Twin Cities to Hutchinson, Minn., on Aug. 15, when the 10th annual Minnesota Garlic Festival will be happening at the McLeod County Fairgrounds. The state’s garlic growers will have bulbs from the more than 100 varieties grown here. The rain-or-shine event features a pop-up cafe staffed by some of the area’s best chefs — Steven Brown, Alex Roberts, Mike Phillips and more, who also will be doing chef’s demos throughout the day. A new attraction is an end-of-day pig roast with Corner Table’s Thomas Boemer. Plenty of activities for the kids makes this a family-friendly event, produced by the Crow River Chapter of the Sustainable Farming Association of MN. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with entry price of $5 for adults, $3 for kids under 12; stroller/carried babies are admitted free. For more details, visit


‘Astonishing Apples’ ready to pick

The latest cookbook in the Northern Plate series from the Minnesota Historical Society Press is in stores now, just in time for the fall apple harvest. “Astonishing Apples” ($17.95) is by Joan Donatelle, who runs the Lunds & Byerlys cooking school at its St. Louis Park store. Apples star here in breakfasts, snacks and desserts: Consider smoked trout tartlettes, apple bruschetta, cheddar apple cornbread, savory apple focaccia, ginger curry apple turkey bake, apple almond biscotti, apple panna cotta and more. A happy hour tasting and book-signing is set for 2-4 p.m. Aug. 22 at Arezzo Ristorante, 5057 France Av. S., Mpls., with tastes of apple creations prepared by chef Ed Hayes along with cider cocktails. The $30 tab includes a copy of the book. Call 612-285-7444 to reserve a space.

The Northern Plate cookbook series focuses on a single ingredient integral to the Upper Midwest, exploring its historical uses as well as culinary applications across a range of dishes.


Cooking through the eons

How did humans first decide to cook? Harvard researchers suggest an evolutionary path that runs like this: Once humans discovered how to make fires, they learned that food that fell in the fire “was better than the raw food and started intentionally cooking it and feeding it to themselves and their children,” according to a column in a recent Wall Street Journal. “In turn, that would let humans grow even bigger and smarter brains, and develop even more impressive cooking techniques.” In one experiment, researchers introduced semiwild chimpanzees in the Congo to a “cooking box.” The chimps watched the researchers place a raw slice of potato in the box, close it and then pull out a roasted slice. As a control, the scientists placed a raw slice in another box and then took it out uncooked. Though chimps usually eat raw food, they preferred the cooked potato. “Given a raw carrot, the chimps immediately put it in the cooking box, even though they had never seen anyone cook carrots before.” And today, we have the microwave oven, and equate that with cooking. Paleo, indeed.