Sunday, November 7, 2010

LIVE at the Writers House: "Philly Bites!"

Last Monday, the Kelly Writers House provided a cozy backdrop for “Philly Bites!” an intimate reading by five of the city’s beloved foodies. I must admit, it’s almost painful to attend a food reading. Without samples promised (and trust me, these writers have had their share of Philly’s finest), it’s difficult to conjure the willpower to show up. You may fear that your suddenly discovered hunger will cause you to jump out of your seat, knock over the chairs (and people) in front of you, bust open the door, and sprint to the nearest blogger-approved restaurant. I can’t say a catastrophe of the sort wasn’t close to occurring that night, but I did manage to keep my cool. And fortunately, these writers proved that food readings can evoke feeling other than insufferable cravings. I left the reading with an empty stomach, but a full heart.

Whether wishing for the recipes your grandmother fervently refused to share or finding yourself entirely too intimate with a chocolate éclair, these writers have experienced food beyond taste. Among the cast was Brian Freedman, currently the restaurant critic and drinks columnist for Philadelphia Weekly. After 11 days of wine tasting, Brian noted that he could “really use a drink” and shared the story of how he managed to end up naked with an éclair in his pants. Next up was Kristen Henri, who was awarded a scholarship for “Food Writing Passion” by James Peterson in 2007. Kirsten also recently worked as an editor for Philly’s edition of Grub Street. Kristen read a piece that described her grandmother’s desire to live on through her recipes, which she protected even from her grandchild.

After Kristen came Drew Lazor, launcher of the Philadelphia City Paper’s food blog Meal Ticket. In his piece, Drew described the many myths behind why Philly pizza “isn’t that good.” Then, Felicia D’Ambrosio, Community and Marketing Manager for in Philadelphia, compared a piece she wrote for City Paper with a recent blog post, illustrating the evolution of food writing in new media. Last was Collin Keefe, the brand new editor for Philadelphia Grub Street. His short, juicy bits of blogging proved Felicia’s claims correct, confirming the significance of blogs in the food industry.

Capping off the event was musical performer John Francis, who just finished his 2nd full-length record, The Better Angels. John served up a mix of American Folk, Rock ‘n’ Roll, and Country. By then, the cravings were starting to get the best of me, and I realized that music is a lot like food. Heartwarming, rich, smooth… in fact, I’m getting a little hungry just writing this post.

Anyway, if you want to be fed emotionally, you can click here and listen to all the writers and John Francis once they're posted (which we're assured will be soon, even though they're unfortunately not up yet). Until then, I think I’ll stick with real food!

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