This coming week, in events that get to your heart through your stomach.
Wednesday, February 1
Vanilla, it doesn't come from a bottle. It comes from a flower -- an orchid. Orchid expert Ken Cameron, associate professor of botany and director of the Wisconsin State Herbarium, covers the natural history of the flavor and fragrance that says "baking" in a talk titled "Vanilla, Orchids & Evolution" -- the latest installment of the Wednesday Nite at the Lab series at UW-Madison. DIYers, take note: methods for bean harvest, curing, and processing will be covered for you to try it at home. UW Biotechnology Center Auditorium, 425 Henry Mall, 7 p.m., free. Call 265-2420 for more info.
Thursday, February 2 and Saturday, February 4
Forget Punxatawney Phil. Sun Prairie has its own weather-predicting star, Jimmy the Groundhog, and attendant hoopla. The prediction will be issued Thursday morning, barring another big snowstorm like last year, but there will also be a Groundhog Day celebration on Saturday morning. Meet Jimmy. Have a piece of cake. There will also be chili. It will not be made out of groundhogs. Northeast YMCA, 1470 Don Simon Dr., Sun Prairie, 7 a.m. Thursday and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. Call 837-4547 for more info.
Saturday, February 4
Souper Bowl XVI, a fundraiser hosted by the UW-Madison Habitat for Humanity, is dinner with a twist -- money goes to a good cause, and you take home a handmade ceramic bowl made by student potters and members of the community. Soup, salad, bread and dessert, and the bowl, cost $15; $35 is the meal-deal for a family of four (two bowls, four meals). Making and donating soup are Culver's, the Fluno Center, Liliana's, Longhorn Steakhouse, Monona Catering, Noodles & Co., Olive Garden, Potbelly, Wall Street Bistro of Mazomanie, and Ironworks Cafe. Six to eight soups are available at any given time during the dinner, with a mix of vegetarian and meat soups. Marigold Kitchen and Cheeseburger in Paradise are providing salad; breads are from Nature's Bakery, Tutto Pasta, Madison Sourdough, Colonial Bakery, Einstein Bros., and Silly Yak (gluten-free). Desserts are by community volunteers and Hubbard Street Diner. To ease parking, a shuttle bus will run from UW Lot 60. West High School, 30 Ash St., 2-8 p.m., $15 individual or $35 family. Call 255-1549 for more info.
Sunday, February 5
On the actual game day, a Super Bowl Brunch fundraiser at Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Monona with feature a menu of eggs, bacon, cheesy potatoes, sausage, fruit, as well as biscuits and gravy. Biscuits and gravy?! That almost makes up for the Packers not being in the game. Sign us up. Immaculate Heart of Mary School, Marion Hall, 4913 Schofield St., Monona, 8 a.m.-noon, $8.50 and $5 kids 5-10. Call 221-1777 for more info.
More events this week
Tuesday, January 31
Kitchen Chemist, a session for kids to make ice cream and learn about the science of freezing and melting. Madison Children's Museum, 100 N. Hamilton St., noon, free with $8 admission. Call 256-6445 for more info.
Wednesday, February 1
Slow Food UW Café, reopening for the spring 2012 semester, with an opening week menu of apple and gouda cheese with bacon jam and greens on a pretzel roll, lemon chickpea salad with feta and spinach, turnip salad with leeks and squash, beet salad with orange and fennel, farro and carrot and mushroom soups, and parsnip cake with spiced cream cheese frosting. The Crossing, 1127 University Ave., 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., $3-5. Call 257-1039 for more info.
Rooftop Seedlings, a weekly session for kids to explore gardening, composting, and cooking. Madison Children's Museum, 100 N. Hamilton St., 3:30 p.m., free with $8 admission. Call 256-6445 for more info.
CHEW meeting, a monthly gathering hosted by Culinary History Enthusiasts of Wisconsin, and featuring a talk by Traci Nathans-Kelly titled "The Spoon Saga," about the cultural history of the eating utensil. Goodman Community Center, 149 Waubesa St., 7:15 p.m., free. Call 241-1574 for more info.
Thursday, February 2
All About Fondue, a class that covers the preparation of multiple fondues, including Swiss, Stilton, and chocolate, each accompanied by wines. Fromagination, 12 S. Carroll St., 6:30-8:30 p.m., $55. Call 255-2430 for more info.
Green Thursdays, an educational series organized by The Natural Step Monona, featuring a screening of The Dark Side of Chocolate, a 2010 documentary by Miki Mistrati and U. Roberto Romano about the use of child labor on cocoa plantations in West Africa. Willy Street Co-op West, 6825 University Ave., 7 p.m., free. Call 284-7800 for more info.
Friday, February 3
Boy Scout Troop 29 Chili Supper, an annual fundraiser in support of Boy Scout Troop 29 at Bashford United Methodist Church, featuring all-you-can-eat chili and take-outs for sale. Bashford United Methodist Church, 329 North St., 4-7 p.m., $7.50 adults and $4 kids 11 and under, with nonperishable food donations encouraged. Call 249-9222 for more info.
Scandihoovian Winter Festival, an annual three-day seasonal festival, featuring a pizza party and pancake breakfast, outdoor recreational activities, a bonfire, children's activities, more. Mount Horeb, multiple locations, 6-9 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. See Facebook, and call 608-444-7009 for more info.
Saturday, February 4
"Taste of the Market" breakfast at the Dane County Farmers' Market, with Josh Perkins and staff from the Willy Street Co-op preparing a menu of bacon with egg and cheese biscuit sandwiches, hash brown patty, homemade apple pie pockets, and spinach salad. Madison Senior Center, 330 West Mifflin St., 8 a.m.-noon, $8 adults and $4 kids and smaller portions. Call 455-1999 for more info.
Markets & 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. First Unitarian Society, 900 University Bay Dr., 9 a.m.-2 p.m., $10 donation for meal. Call 839-4758 for more info.
Cedarburg Winter Festival, an annual two-day seasonal celebration, with a theme of Grimm's Fairy Tales, featuring cupcake and chili contests, the Cool Brew beer tasting, a pancake breakfast, ice carving, outdoor recreational activities, a parade, live music, children's activities, more. Cedarburg, multiple locations, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m.-noon Sunday. Call 888-894-4001 for more info.
Blizzard Blast, an annual benefit organized by the Dane County Council of Snowmobile Clubs on behalf of Easter Seals Wisconsin, featuring food and drinks, casino games, a raffle, live music, children's activities, more. Red Mouse, 3738 Hwy. P, Pine Bluff, 4-11 p.m., $20. Call 237-1370 for more info.
Sunday, February 5
Monday, February 6
Save the date
Tuesday, February 7
Desiging and Installing a Food Forest class, with instructor Kate Heiber-Cobb of the Madison Area Permaculture Guild covering the basics of cultivating a multi-layered wooded garden with perennial and annual vegetables and flowers, along with fruit and nut trees, from design to planting to harvest. Olbrich Gardens, 3330 Atwood Ave., 6:30 p.m., $15. Please RSVP by January 31, and call 246-4550 for more info.
Saturday, February 11
Taste Traditions of Wisconsin, a monthly lecture and dinner series that features author Ed Janus discussing the history of dairying in Wisconsin, along with Wisconsin Cheese Originals presenting stories by cheesemakers and a cheese tasting. Wisconsin Historical Museum, 30 North Carroll St., noon-2 p.m., $10. Please RSVP by February 3, and call 264-6563 for more info.
Friday, February 17
Small Batch Bourbon Dinner, with a five-course menu and paired bourbons selected from Willett Pot Still Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon, Rowan's Creek Small Batch Boutique Bourbon, Johnny Drum Private Stock Bourbon Whiskey, Noah's Mill Small Batch Boutique Bourbon, Willett Family Estate Rye Whiskey, Pure Kentucky Bourbon, Old Bardstown Bourbon, and Vintage 17 Bourbon. Harvest, 21 N. Pinckney St., 6 p.m., $55. Call 255-6075 for more info.
Saturday, February 18
Death By Chocolate Bake-Off, the seventh annual baking contest hosted by the Mount Horeb Public Library, with submissions in six categories due on February 3 with a fee of $5 per entry. Mount Horeb Public Library, 105 Perimeter Rd., Mount Horeb, 6:30 p.m., free. Call 608-437-5021 for more info.