The food intellectual is not a new phenomenon, but it is a new cliche. The glut of rant-prone gonzo restaurant critic bloggers, armchair sustainability experts and urban chicken farming gurus reminds us that the importance of caring about food, where it comes from and who makes it has soaked deep into our collective psyche (and Twitter feeds) like milk into bread for meatballs. In less than two weeks, the first Food Book Fair will celebrate thinkers, writers and artists who make food their focus in a fairly massive marketplace of ideas set to go down at the new Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn.
Interested in intersections between food and art? Curious about how people living in cities are reaffirming their connection to the land they rarely see? Eager to tackle the concept of "food porn?" From May 4-6, the Food Book Fair will oblige with panels featuring Harold McGee, Colman Andrews, Ed Behr of The Art of Eating, Gael Greene, Peter Meehan and Dr. Marion Nestle, among the many confirmed gastro-sages, and representatives from such publications as Lucky Peach, Diner Journal, Edible Brooklyn, Gastronomica, Laphams Quarterly: The Food Issue, Meatpaper, Put a Egg on It, Remedy Quarterly, Swallow Magazine, The Runcible Spoon, White Zinfandel and Wilder Quarterly.
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We know Brooklyn is pretty far away, but with a lineup like that (it's like the Coachella of writing about eating, though we doubt Prosper Montagné will be appearing via hologram), you may want to at least tell your friends to go.
Fittingly, the fair also will include opportunities to eat, specifically at the six-course fungi-centric Garden Gather Dinner, and, on the last night, a four-course meal inspired by Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises.
We asked Food Book Fair planner and Evan Kleiman fan Elizabeth Thacker Jones about the impetus for her event. "It felt like a good idea," she said. "There are many smaller food-related publications sprouting up around the globe and I wondered how hard it would be to get them all in the same place to swap and trade. I obsessively collect rare books, magazines and journals that are about food but aren't cookbooks. This is not purely about cooking and food service, and I'd like to celebrate writers, artists and designers who are addressing food within their disciplines."
As far as tickets go, there are a variety of pricing plans and packages, depending on how much Food Book Fair you wish to ingest.