1,000 foods? Pace yourself
Local foods get another turn in the spotlight in a new book, “1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die” (Workman, $24.95) by Mimi Sheraton, a former restaurant critic for the New York Times and James Beard award winner. The angle is that the book “offers the ultimate education in gastronomy,” whether you’re traveling the world or just crossing state borders. Among the Minnesota spots that earned a mention: Smack Shack in Minneapolis for Maine lobster; Khyber Pass in St. Paul for an Afghan dinner; Kramarczuk’s in Minneapolis for its kielbasa and Kielbasa Festival; Ingebretsen’s in Minneapolis for lingonberries and rullepolse; Taste of Scandinavia restaurants in North Oaks, Little Canada and Bloomington for delicate pancakes called platter; the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis for its smorgasbord on select Sundays, and Lynden’s Soda Fountain in St. Paul for egg creams and ice cream sodas. Also getting nods as excellent resources are Raghavan Iyer for two cookbooks, “Indian Cooking Unfolded” and “660 Curries”; Lynne Rossetto Kasper for “The Italian Country Table” and her radio show, “The Splendid Table,” and Duluth culinary treasure Beatrice Ojakangas for “The Great Scandinavian Baking Book.” Finally, the University of Minnesota got a shout-out for research in the early 1980s that showed that tree ear mushrooms may slow the tendency of blood to clot, thus combating heart disease. Not a grape salad to be seen. (No Jucy Lucys, either.)
Culinary culture at Nosh
The Heavy Table online magazine about food and drink in the Upper Midwest has hosted its North Coast Nosh food event for several years, bringing diners and purveyors together in a “let’s chat, and please, have some more” atmosphere. Next month’s Nosh at the Minnesota History Center has a particular spin, though. Using the now-infamous New York Times claim that grape salad is a beloved Minnesota side dish as a springboard, the Heavy Table, along with the Minnesota Historical Society, will highlight foods that truly represent the state’s culture. Sean Sherman, an American Indian chef in Minneapolis working on a cookbook and restaurant called the Sioux Chef, will curate a selection of foods that exemplify the region’s indigenous people, such as maple candy, wild rice pasta, buffalo bars, wild teas and more. Visitors also will have access to the “Modern Spirit” exhibit of work by revered Ojibwe artist George Morrison, also at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul, and hear from author Heid Erdrich, who wrote “Original Local.” The event is from 7 to 10 p.m. Feb. 19. Tickets are $20 ($25 for MNHS members) and limited in number. They may be ordered via http://heavytable.com/northcoastnosh, or call 651-259-3015.
Minneapolis Parks programs
There’s a new teaching kitchen at the Theodore Wirth Park Picnic Pavilion, 3275 Glenwood Av. in Minneapolis, with a couple of chocolate classes on deck with Valentine’s Day in mind. From 10 a.m. to noon on Feb. 5, the “Dark Chocolate Making” class offers an experience in roasting, grinding and processing the cacao seeds to make historically authentic, minimally processed chocolate. ($20.) From 7 to 8 p.m. Feb. 12, “Chocolate Truffles” will teach you how to make truffles and fold a personalized box for them. ($15.) Other classes through February include homemade soups, Indian spices and cooking, grain and bean salads and, perhaps with spring-cleaning in mind, how to make nontoxic cleaning supplies. To register for these and any other classes, visit www.minneapolisparks.org/register and click on “Activities.”