This coming week, in events that get to your heart through your stomach.
Saturday, February 5
Saturday is Super Bowl Eve, and like Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, this Eve is full of ritualistic practices that may or may not have anything to do with the upcoming main event.
Exhibit A: The "Taste of the Market" breakfast at the Dane County Farmers' Market. We can safely say this is unrelated, since it happens each week. This week's guest chef is Mary White, owner of Honey Bee Bakery, who got her start with the Underground Food Collective. The menu features Honey Bee organic buttermilk biscuits with sausage and gravy or Shiitake mushroom sauce, chef's choice eggs with baby arugula greens and beauty heart radishes, and sunflower oil-basted carrots. Madison Senior Center, 330 W. Mifflin St., 8 a.m.-noon, $7 adults and $3.75 kids and smaller portions. Call 455-1999 for more info.
Exhibit B: Grillin4Peace. The presence of grills and meat to be seared in the flames at this fourth annual benefit dubbed Grillin4Peace do suggest a strong connection with North American tailgating practices, although the aims here -- to bring attention to world peace and to Savory Sunday, a local effort to feed the needy in downtown Madison every Sunday afternoon -- seem unconnected with most aspects of football. Still, it has thematic resonance, particularly when 67 Weber grills will be arranged to create a peace sign atop the frozen Lake Wingra. Vilas Beach, 1339 Vilas Park Dr., 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. $35 donation. Call 233-6967 for more info.
Exhbit C: Souper Bowl XV. The punning name here suggests a strong link to Sunday's football showdown, although the event is again a benefit. In this case, it's in support of UW-Madison Habitat for Humanity. Hundreds of people attended the Bowl last year, and raised over $22,000. Participants get a handmade pottery bowl, along with a dinner of soup and sides. You can use the bowl to house your dip or whatnot during the big game. West High School, 30 Ash St., 2-8 p.m., $15 per person or $35 for a family of four. Call 890-2882 for more info.
Finally, Exhibit D: The USquare National Food Court & Wisconsin Collegiate Eating Championships. In its press release, this second-annual spectacle is described as an event that "will pay tribute to the American institution known as the Food Court and will celebrate the diversity and range that customers encounter during the typical Food Court experience." From this, we can safely draw the conclusion that it is unrelated to the Super Bowl, other than that the game is also an American institution... right up there on the level of food courts. The inaugural USquare eating contest last year was dominated by competitive eater Ian "The Invader" Hickman, recently seen in TV ads promoting this self-billed "Mararthon Medley of Munching. This year's pros include Chris "The Mad Greek" Abatsas, "Jammin" Joe Larue and Don "Moses" Lerman. University Square Food Court, 311 East Campus Mall, 1 p.m., free. Call 442-5044 for more info.
More events this week
Wednesday, February 2
CHEW meeting, a monthly gathering hosted by Culinary History Enthusiasts of Wisconsin and featuring a talk by UW-Madison professor Jordan D. Rosenblum titled "CHEW the Cud: Food and Identity in Early Rabbinc Judaisim." Goodman Community Center, 149 Waubesa St., 7:15 p.m., free. Call 241-1574 for more info.
Friday, February 4
Boy Scout Troop 29 Chili Supper fundrasier, an all-you-can-eat meal featuring multiple varieties of chili (including vegetarian), toppings and relishes, bread, beverages, and quarts of chili for takeout, with all proceeds going to support troop activities and scholarships. Bashford United Methodist Church, 329 North St., 4-7 p.m., $7.50 adults and $4 children with $1 dine-in discount for nonperishable donations to Bashford Food Pantry. Call 514-7052 for more info.
Cooking Clean 102 with Chef Angela Trentadue of Stagioni and Katy Wallace of Human Nature preparing gluten-free whole grains and legumes with a focus on "methods to maximize nutrient absorption, good digestion, and flavor." Willy Street Co-op West, 6825 University Ave., 6-8 p.m., $15 owners and $25 all others. Call 284-7800 for more info.
Saturday, February 5
Market & Meals for Hope, a farmers' market and breakfast that benefits the Churches' Center for Land & People and its Harvest of Hope Fund for Wisconsin farm families facing distress. Memorial United Church of Christ, 5705 Lacy Rd., Fitchburg, 9 a.m.-noon, $7-10. Call 445-4588 for more info.
Sunday, February 6
Super Bowl Brunch, a school mission trip fundraiser with a home-cooked buffet featuring egg casserole, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits and gravy, fruit, baked goods, juice, and coffee. Immaculate Heart of Mary School, Marion Hall, 4913 Schofield St., 8 a.m.-noon, $8.50 adults and $5 kids under 10. Call 221-1777 for more info.
Madison Parks Food Drive deadline, with nonperishable food items and other grocery products for personal care and cleaning accepted in the winter concession facilities at Elver Park, Tenney Park, and Vilas Park, as well as at the Warner Park Community Recreation Center and the Madison Parks administration office. More details about the drive for the Second Harvest Food Bank of Southern Wisconsin are provided by Madison Parks.
Monday, February 7
Save the date
Southern Wisconsin Fresh Produce Workshop, an all-day series of sessions taught by UW Extension specialists about fruit and vegetable farming practices, disease forecasting and pest management, post-harvest handling, safe food handling, and a new Wisconsin fresh market produce packing house. Alliant Energy Center, 1919 Energy Center Way, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., $40. RSVPs are due by February 4. Call 224-3700 for more info.
Vegantines Dinner & Dance, an annual semi-formal fundraiser in support of Alliance for Animals, with hors d'oeuvres, dinner, live music, awards, and a keynote address by author and activist Rae Sikora. West Side Club, 437 Hwy. M, 5:30-10:30 p.m., $35. RSVPs are due by February 7. Call 257-6333 for more info.
Fowl Dinner, a seven-course family-style meal focusing on pasture-raised ducks, geese, squab, chicken, turkey, and pheasant, along with the "under-appreciated bounty of winter." Underground Kitchen, 127 E. Mifflin St., 6:30 p.m., $50. Call 514-1516 to RSVP and for more info.
School Garden Project grants, in which Madison students, teachers, and parents encouraged to submit essays about planned or ongoing school gardens, with two $500 awards going to two programs. Whole Foods, 3313 University Ave., with the project application process running from February 1 through March 15. Call 233-9566 for more info.