Edible Brooklyn. Edible Brooklyn, a free publication, is a veritable road map of the restaurants, bars, co-ops, markets, grocery stores, and bodegas in the Brooklyn area and, unlike most food publications, has a pretty decided outlook on all things edible east of the East River. It's a tributary of the larger Edible Manhattan, but, appropriate to its readers, it has a bit more of a crunchy granola bohemian hipster feel. Here's the best thing about said funky little publication: they have fun and funky little events as well. A few nights ago, my fabulous husband and I happened upon one of these events at the Brooklyn Brewery and stayed to sit in on a series of lectures. Now, if the word "lecture" makes you think of college, florescent lights, and exams, I would say this was not the night for you. But, I must say that there was no exam, the room was dimly lit, there was beer, and before the night was over, Victor and I learned "How to Pickle, Ferment, and Jar" and made a few new friends. Not a bad evening of lectures.
Yes, PLEASE! Samples galore. I had a Horman's hot and spicy pickle, some grapefruit and smoked salt marmalade on foccacia, and some red ginger kombucha. All brilliantly tasty (believe it or not, including the kombucha). The best part, though? Each was served up by their respective makers. No second, third, or fourth-hand distribution. Hand to hand to mouth. I met and spoke to the creator and jam-master of Anarchy in a Jar (Laena McCarthy) as I munched on her, I must say, innovative jam. (I had missed her lecture in my tardiness, but I hear it was fabulous). She was sweet and engaging. I wanted to buy her products not only because the jam was to die for (and it was), but also because I liked and trusted her and wanted to support her business. I thought of the year-old Smuckers that was hanging out in my fridge and wondered: who made that? Would I like to talk to him/her? Would I trust him/her? Hmm. Literally . . . food for thought.
Kombucha Brooklyn and self-proclaimed "Kombuchaman" Eric Childs told us all about it - alternating pertinent home-kombucha-brewing information (kombucha should be fermented at a pH of 3.4 or less), disgusting details (you don't want to know), hilarious audience participation, and sips of his beer. Folks shouted out questions, laughed, and had a pretty generally fun time of it. Note to self: come to more of these kooky lectures - I could learn something.
After finding a friend, Jeremy Morgan, and his adorable partner and grabbing some more Horman's horseradish pickles (the best!), we settled in for a lecture on kimchi. Yeah . . . not as informative. Mr. Kimchi-lecturer, as the last of the evening, had sampled too much of the brown ale and was wholly unhelpful in the kimchi-making instruction. What he lacked in public speaking skills, though, he made up for in charisma. I didn't know whether we were laughing with him or at him, but he was hilarious! People were laughing, toasting, and yelling out words that he forgot; things like "table", "parsley", and . . . "kimchi". After a rambling account of God-knows-what, he sauntered off and we commenced finishing our own beverages. Folks milled about and chatted about co-ops, gardens, and sustanability. I realized that I was completely out of my crunchiness depth, but I had a great time with a lot of good people anyway. And, hey, I learned a LOT.
With every year that distances me from the institutions of learning that I attended, I exponentially appreciate the value of a good old lecture. Heck, I even turn on the history channel from time to time. Learning, I would venture to say, has become a little hobby of mine. If someone's going to invite me to sit in for free while they impart their knowledge (on any subject) to me, I am all the better for it. And if I meet new friends and they serve beer, jam, and pickles in the meanwhile, bust a move. Thanks, Edible Brooklyn. I'll be seeing you again sometime soon. Who knows. I might even attempt to make some kombucha someday. Maybe.