Across time and place, food—in some cases actual bits of food preserved for hundreds or thousands of years—serves as a vehicle to share stories, express creativity and emotion, and connect us with family, culture, love and history.
Join Atlas Obscura Society Seattle at The London Plane in a four-part series of short 30-minute talks with journalist Harriet Baskas to uncover the social role of food in our lives. We'll also hear briefly from Ricardo Valdes, lead chef at The London Plane, on its specific approach to preserved foods and the Levantine tradition.
March 28: Odd, unusual petrified and preserved food
A tour through fruitcake, biscuits and other “leftover” foods from the earliest Antarctic expeditions; the world’s oldest noodles and other mummified and petrified foods; and the story of a 150-year-old jarred pickle found in the back of a dresser at a pioneer museum in the northwest. How – and why – did these foods survive?
April 17: Food in the arts
A look at the role food plays in art and culture, such as Dicken's Great Expectations; a Seinfeld TV show; Salvador Dali's Surrealist dinner party menus; artist Janine Antoni's chocolate sculptural busts shaped by licking; Jana Sterback's meat dress (which preceded Lady Gaga's); Kara Walker's Sugar Sphinx and others. Local artist Francesca Lohmann, who creates sculptures out of taffy, will also drop by to talk about her work.
May 1: Food and love
Emotionally-laden stories of saved foods linked to courtship, weddings, special family gatherings and death, including cake from the Civil War-era marriage of P.T. Barnum circus performers General Tom Thumb and Lavinia Warren to the role a roll of lifesavers played in a couples’ courtship.
May 16: Food, faith, and fare made by religious orders
A non-denominational dive into the role of food in cultural and religious observances, and the beer, bread, bourbon balls and other foods various religious orders are known for. Plus, some of the foods on which the face of Jesus has appeared.
Guests will have the opportunity to share their stories as well.
ABOUT THE SPEAKERS
Harriet Baskas is the author of seven books, including Hidden Treasures: What Museums Can’t or Won’t Show You, and has created award-winning radio programs on topics as varied as cowgirls, unusual museums, aging boomers, and the Seattle World’s Fair for National Public Radio and regional public radio stations. Seattle based, she currently writes about airports, air travel, museums, and other topics for NBC News, CNBC, USA Today, and other outlets.
A native of Oxnard, CA, Ricardo Valdes hails from a long line of cooks, eaters and at-home entertainers. Ricardo studied at the Culinary Arts program at Art Institute of California, and simultaneously joined acclaimed chef Dominique Crenn, as part of the opening kitchen team at Abode in Santa Monica. Following his time at Abode, Ricardo worked in kitchens across L.A., including Inn of the Seventh Ray, Provecho, and The Redbury, before moving to Seattle to serve as Chef de Cuisine at Delancey. He heads up The London Plane kitchen, utilizing his years of experience to guide the shop into its fifth year of business.
- Ticket price covers the costs of one talk, not the entire series.
- Ticket price includes complementary small bites provided by The London Plane.
- Drinks will be available for purchase.
Email Shin Yu Pai at ShinYu.Pai@atlasobscura.com.
Advance tickets only. All sales final. No refunds or exchanges.