Illinois Has a Lot to Wine About: A Toast and Tasting to Our State’s Great History


Illinois has a thriving wine industry although this may come as a surprise to many residents of Illinois and beyond. Clara Orban, author of Illinois Wines and Wineries: the Essential Guide (SIU Press, 2014) will present the history of Illinois wines, with some little-known facts about an industry that dates back more than 150 years. She will also compare Illinois to other Midwest States and then see how the Illinois wine industry compares to that of the West Coast powerhouses. She will give an overview of the different wine regions of Illinois, the current status of grape varieties, and look into the future of Illinois wine.

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The Art and Soul of French Pastry


Program summary:

· The philosophy of French baking
· How to approach a pastry recipe
· The Do’s and Don’ts of baking

After a lifetime in pastry, internationally acclaimed pastry chef Jacquy Pfeiffer has a wealth of knowledge, advice, and tricks of the trade to help students of pastry learn to master these recipes. Chef Pfeiffer recently recorded many of these in his multi-award-winning book, The Art of French Pastry, co-authored with Martha Rose Shulman. Listen to stories from his life and career that he relates through witty anecdotes and find out more about the philosophy of baking that is the foundation of French pastry. He will offer several do’s and don’ts for baking to help anyone succeed in the kitchen. Continue reading

Breaking the Fast at a Ramadan Iftar at Khan BBQ

We will gather one hour before sunset to learn about Iftar, the meal that breaks the fast during Ramadan nights and before observant Muslims depart for evening prayers. Many of the people present will not have consumed even a morsel of food or drink since daybreak that day at 4:01 am. To replicate the experience, we suggest not drinking or eating from once we meet at the restaurant until sunset at 8:29 pm. Certainly you may eat before you arrive.

Khan BBQ offers a nightly Iftar buffet during Ramadan. The composition of the meal is fixed, though what is offered changes nightly. The Iftar buffet will have dates (consumed at the initial breaking of the fast), naan (Indian bread), a featured BBQ, a rice dish, pakora (savory appetizer), rosewater milk and ice water.  Continue reading

Julia’s Cats: Julia Child’s Life in the Company of Cats

Presented by Terry Burson, Author

“A house without a cat is like a day without sunshine, a pie without fromage, a dinner without wine.” — Julia Child

The world knows Julia Child as the charismatic woman who brought French cuisine to America and became a TV sensation, but there’s one aspect of her life that’s not so familiar. Soon after the Childs arrived in Paris in 1948, a French cat appeared on their doorstep, and Julia recalled, “Our domestic circle was completed.” Minette captured Julia’s heart, igniting a lifelong passion for cats equaled only by her love of food and her husband, Paul. Continue reading