This coming week, in events that get to your heart through your stomach.
Tuesday, March 9
Jeff Glazer of Madison Beer Review and Jeanne Carpenter of Cheese Underground have organized a beer and cheese tasting this evening as a fundraiser for Literacy 24/7, the weeklong celebration of reading that runs through Saturday. Both food writers will discuss the background of and local bounty of artisanal cheeses and craft beers, with fine Wisconsin-made examples of each donated for the event. Potential pairings include Marieke Aged Gouda with O'so Dominator Dopplebock, Marieke Foenegreek Gouda with Furthermore Knot Stock APA, Uplands Cheese Pleasant Ridge Reserve with Central Waters Peruvian Morning Imperial Coffee Stout, and Saxon Creamery Saxony with Tyranena Bitter Woman IPA or Potosi Snake Hollow IPA. Everything is free, but attendees are encouraged to donate $5, $10, or even more, all of which will go to the Literacy Network. The Malt House, 2609 E. Washington Ave., 6-9 p.m., free but a generous donation is requested. Call 204-2658 for more info.
Regional food writer and Isthmus contributor Terese Allen will be giving a pair of book readings today for a revised edition of The Flavor of Wisconsin: An Informal History of Food and Eating in Wisconsin, the essential culinary culture-spanning cookbook by Harva Hatchen originally published a quarter-century ago. First, the Madison Senior Center plays host to the lecture and discussion as part of its Book Bites local author series. Madison Senior Center, 330 W. Mifflin St., 1 p.m., free. Call 266-6581 for more info. Later, the Friends of Fitchburg Library will host her for a presentation and recipe sampling, which will feature some of the recipes detailed in the book. Fitchburg Community Center, 5510 Lacy Rd., 7 p.m., free. Call 273-0846 for more info.
Growing Power CEO and MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" recipient Will Allen will lead a discussion about urban gardening and agriculture as part of the Ethical Eats lecture series at the First Unitarian Society of Madison. The talk will focus on the Milwaukee-based non-profit group's work in building sustainable and community-supported food systems through its network of farms and outreach programs. First Unitarian Society, 900 University Bay Dr., 7 p.m., $10. Call 233-9774 for more info.
The River Alliance of Wisconsin plays host to the touring version of the Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival, returning to Madison this evening for a screening of seven short films. Programmed to educate and inspire viewers on behalf of the natural world, the fes will feature Get Up, Stand Up by David Gonzales, Secret Life of Paper by Mark Sugg and Loch Phillipps, Garbage Angels by Pierre Trudeau, A Simple Question: The Story of S.T.R.A.W. by Kevin White and David Donnenfield, The New Species by Evalds Lacis and Maris Putnins, Ascending the Giants by John Waller, and Big River by Curt Ellis and Aaron Woolf. This latter and headlining title addressing the "ecological consequences of industrial agriculture" was created as a companion to the documentary King Corn; a review was published in last week's Isthmus. The screening will be followed by a ticketed cocktail party, which includes a one-year membership to the River Alliance. Majestic Theatre, 115 King St., 7 p.m., $10 or $25 for the post-screening party. Tickets can be purchased in advance at Fontana Sports or online. Call 257-2424 x.114 for more info.
Wednesday, March 10
Chef Sabi returns to the Willy Street Co-op with his Taste the Magic of Morocco culinary tour. Along with a presentation by Moroccan tour guide Richard Bunk about the culture, history, and sights of the North African nation, participants will be able to sample zitoun (olives), khobz (a whole-wheat flatbread), Harira Be-Karawia (caraway and coriander soup with lamb, chickpeas, and lentils), a seven vegetables couscous, kefta, harbel (honeyed wheat pudding), dates and almonds, Moroccan mint tea, and Tamar Hindi (a sweet and sour beverage made with tamarind dates). The food will be paired with French wines selected by Star Liquor manager Adam Casey. Willy Street Co-op, 1221 Williamson St., 6-8 p.m., $15 for owners and $25 for all others. Call 251-6776 for more info.
Nearly all of seats have already been claimed at a craft beer dinner presented by Chef Derek Rowe of Harvest and Chef Robert Miller of The Old Fashioned, their last in a series of four over the winter. The meal will feature the beers of Red Eye Brewing Company of a relatively new brewpub in Wausau that is developing a following in Madison. The menu features a first course of cured beef and celeriac paired with Conquest Rye ESB, a second course of leek Welsh rarebit paired with Serendipity Double IPA, a third course of roast pork with prunes and mash paired with Nut Brown, and a cheese course paired with Scarlet 7. Red Eye brewmaster Kevin Eichelberger will be attending the meal and will discuss his beers. Harvest, 21 N. Pinckney St., 6 p.m., $45. Call 255-6075 for reservations.
Thursday, March 11
The year-long Go Big Read program at UW-Madison continues with a screening of Fresh, a documentary by Ana Joanes. Subtitled "New Thinking About What We're Eating," the film examines the global agricultural system and the burgeoning local foods movement, and features Michael Pollan, Will Allen, and others. Department of Community and Environmental Sociology professors Jack Kloppenburg and Jill Harrison will lead a discussion after the screening. UW Memorial Library, 728 State St., 5 p.m., free. Call 262-2387 for more info.
Slow Food UW and F.H. King Students for Sustainable Agriculture are holding a screening of the acclaimed film Food Inc. An Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Feature, it explores the industrialized American food industry and its consequences on the economy, consumer health, and the environment. Isthmus published a review of the filmduring its original theatrical run in Madison last summer. The Crossing, 1127 University Ave., 7:30 p.m., free. Call 257-1039 for more info.
Saturday, March 13
The Stoughton Kiwanis Club is hosting its 10th annual pancake breakfast fundraiser this morning. Along with all-you-can-eat flapjacks, the meal will include eggs, sausage, applesauce, milk, orange juice, and coffee. Song and dance are also on the menu, as the Trinity Irish Dancers take the stage for a pair of performances at 9 and 10:30 a.m., while Sid Boersma and All Mell will play Irish tunes and lead group sing-alongs through the morning. Proceeds from the fundraiser go towards the club's community service projects, and is focusing on developing a Yell and Tell child safety program in Stoughton. Stoughton High School, 600 Lincoln Ave., Stoughton, 7:30-11 a.m., $6 adults and $4 for ages 6-12 with kids 5 and under free. Call 608-877-8724 for more info.
Chef Tory Miller of L'Etoile and Cafe Soleil returns to the Taste of the Market breakfast at the Dane County Farmers' Market for the third time this winter, and is working with students from Sherman Middle School to prepare the meal. The menu will include: a Jordandal Farms pork and Valley View emu chorizo or vegetarian breakfast burrito with Pecatonica Valley scrambled eggs and Forgotten Valley Fantiago cheese topped with Tomato Mountain salsa; Don's Produce fresh greens with Renaissance Farm lemon pesto vinaigrette, rice and beans "hash browns"; Oaxacan chocolate croissants made by the students; and, organic fair trade Just Coffee and tea, Greens Orchards apple cider, cranberry juice, and milk. Madison Senior Center, 330 W. Mifflin St., 8 a.m.-noon, $7.50 adults and $3.75 kids. Call 455-1999 for more info about the market.
Orange Tree Imports is hosting a free demonstration by artist Pat Hall on how to create a pysanka, better known as a Ukranian Easter egg. The gift shop also invites both children and adults to enter an egg art contest, which is open to raw or blown chicken eggs decorated in the Ukrainian style or using batik, watercolor, natural dyes, paper wrapping, and other methods. The deadline for entrants is March 27, with all entries to be displayed during Holy Week and Easter weekend. Orange Tree Imports, 1721 Monroe St., 1-3 p.m., free. Call 255-8211 for more info.
Two floors of craft beer selections will be on tap at the third annual FestivAle, a benefit for the Arthritis Foundation. Opening with a special session beer-pairing demonstration, the tasting features numerous breweries from around Wisconsin and beyond. The selections will include brews from: Ale Asylum, Potosi Brewing, Furthermore Beer, The Grumpy Troll, BluCreek Brewing, The Great Dane, Capital Brewery, Central Waters Brewing, O'so Brewing, and New Glarus Brewing from in-state, and Lagunitas Brewing, New Belgium Brewing, Three Floyds Brew Pub, Two Brothers Brewing, Founders Brewing, New Holland Brewing, Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales, and Oskar Blues Brewery from outside its borders. The tasting also features a raffle, games, and live music by Bob Rocks. FestivAle sold out in 2009, so advance ticket purchases are suggested. East Side Club, 3735 Monona Dr., 12-1 p.m. special session and 1-4 p.m. open tasting, $20 advance registration, $45 special session registration, $100 six-pack registration with $25 multiplier for special session, $10 designated driver registration, and $25 at the door. Call 222-9131 for more info.
St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Waunakee is holding a chili supper benefit this evening for Schumacher Farm park in Westport. The meal features chili, dessert, and beverages, and attendees will also be able to enter a raffle for a handmade quilt. St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 209 South St., Waunakee, 4:30-6:30 p.m., $3.50. Call 608-231-2104 for more info.
Sunday, March 14
MACSAC, the Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition, is holding its annual spring open house today, linking farmers offering CSA shares with families and local food fanatics seeking a long season of fresh veggies. Moving to a larger location this year in reflection of the growing consumer interest in local foods, the event will feature nearly 40 community supported agriculture farms from around the region offering shares of this year's harvests. Visitors to the open house will also find a trio of workshops, a raffle benefit for the MACSAC Partner Shares Program, live music, and kids' activities, and samples of farm-fresh eats. Sign up now to get your pick of the season. Monona Terrace, 1 John Nolen Dr., 1-4 p.m., free. Call 226-0300 for more info.
Harvest is holding its penultimate fundraiser dinner this evening in support of its staff trip to New York City for a special Farm to Table dinner on April 6. Invited for a second time by the James Beard Foundation, owner and wine director Tammy Lax and Chef Derek Row are offering a series of five three-course prix-fixe dinner to pay for staff travel expenses. The final dinner will be held next week, with 100% of the food sales from each going to the trip. Harvest, 21 N. Pinckney St., 5 p.m., $25. Call 255-6075 for reservations.
Monday, March 15
The Home Health United Meals on Wheels program is holding an information open house about its delivery service to senior and disabled residents of Madison, Middleton, and Monona. Prospective volunteers will be able to learn how to "help deliver nutrition, provide a safety check and allow people to remain independent in their own homes," not to mention provide a friendly greeting to recipients. Delivery routs are available seven days a week. Home Health United East, 2802 Walton Commons West, 5-7 p.m. Call 276-7598 for more info.
Upcoming eats events
It's worth knowing about some events that require reservations farther in advance.
Wednesday, March 17
The Food for Haiti earthquake relief drive is wrapping up in anticipation of sending a shipping container full of essential items to the Caribbean nation via Health Ministries for Haiti. The campaign seeks donations of bottled water (two-gallon jugs or individual bottles), powdered milk, baby formula, and canned food that does not need cooking (such as fruit or tuna) and preferably has easy-open lids. Items given by the case are preferred for packing purposes, but any size donation is appreciated. Financial donations are also accepted, and will go towards the cost of shipping. Collection points include James Madison Memorial High School, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church at 5701 Raymond Rd., Good Shepherd Lutheran Church at the corner of 9 Mound Rd. and Highway PD, Habitat Restore at 208 Cottage Grove Rd., and Basics Cooperative at 1711 Lodge Dr. in Janesville. Call 658-1772 for more info.
Saturday, March 20
The basics of establishing a herb garden and making the most of its harvest in the kitchen is the focus of the Growing and Using Culinary Herbs class taught by Lauri Lee and Susan Churchill of the Madison Herb Society. It's described by organizers as an "interactive herbal sensory adventure" for students, who will get to touch, smell and taste some 30 prevalent culinary herbs, as well as learn pairing basics and try out various herbal recipes. Olbrich Gardens, 3330 Atwood Ave., 1 p.m., $45. RSVPs must be made by March 11. Call 246-4550 for more info.
Sunday, March 21
The Haze American + Asian Bar-B-Que is hosting a Trappist beer tasting dinner this evening, featuring a talk by A Taste of Heaven author Madeline Scherb about the monastic brewing tradition. "Trappist monk Thomas Merton was a bridge-builder between Eastern and Western faith traditions, so it fits the east-west theme of The Haze," reads an announcement from the restaurant about the 40-seat dinner. The Haze, 106 King St, $65. Call 260-2680 for reservations and more information.
Saturday, April 10
Madison will play host to the second annual International Raw Milk Symposium, a meeting for farmers, consumers, and activists to discuss the next steps of their movement. First held in Toronto back in January 2009, this successive conference is being held in town due to the recent bureaucratic wrangling over raw milk in Wisconsin and the growing ranks of both producers and consumers who support it. "We feel the climate in Wisconsin is creating the perfect backdrop for our work at this conference," says symposium chairman Tim Wightman, a dairy farmer from northern Wisconsin and now based in Ohio. "It's a perfect time for us to come together. As farmers and consumers, we know there is strength in diversity, and we recognize the fine line between diversity and divisiveness." Monona Terrace, 1 John Nolen Dr., 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Call 703-208-3276 for more info.