What’s Cooking: Talks and Events Around Food in NYC

By Alison Durkee

Get your appetites ready and the turkey in the oven—Thanksgiving is almost here. Of course, in New York City, it’s far from the only day of the year to enjoy delicious food. Celebrate the holiday and keep up the eating after the leftovers are gone with these upcoming Thanksgiving and food-themed events.

The centerpiece of NYC’s Thanksgiving celebration is, of course, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which will kick off at 9AM on Thursday morning from 75th Street and Central Park West. Should you wish to see the parade’s famed balloons get ready for their big moment, make your way to the American Museum of Natural History on Wednesday, November 20, as the annual balloon inflation takes place outside the museum from 1-8pm.

New Yorkers can also get ready for Thanksgiving with several upcoming food-themed events. On November 24, the Museum of Interesting Things will host their own pre-Thanksgiving feast, which will feature Indian food, gifts, a cooking demonstration, and admission to a special speakeasy. One day later on November 25, Caveat will put the spotlight on one of the sweeter parts of the Thanksgiving feast, as its ongoing Masters of Social Gastronomy series focuses on the history and science of pies.

As Thanksgiving ushers in the official start of the holiday season, New Yorkers should save their appetite post-Thanksgiving for more holiday food events. Soul Night Events will host a special Love and Unity Christmas Family Brunch on December 7, and a December 21 walking tour will give attendees the chance to discover Arthur Avenue’s famed holiday decorations while eating their way around the Bronx neighborhood. Jewish New Yorkers readying their Hanukkah celebrations, meanwhile, can get an in-depth look into the holiday’s delicious cuisine on December 11, as a talk and tasting that includes the co-authors of The Gefilte Manifesto puts the spotlight on the fats that make Hanukkah food so special.

The Merchant’s House Museum will offer a historical look at holiday cuisine this season through ongoing installations and exhibitions. The museum will celebrate the holidays with festive scenes recreated throughout the house of 19th century holiday celebrations, including preparations in the kitchen for a Christmas meal. A Festoon, Feast & Frolic exhibition, which will run from November 29 through January 6, will feature illustrations from Yuletide traditions in the 19th century (above) and highlight the era’s holiday foods. The Fraunces Tavern will also offer a look back at foods of the past at their Winter Tavern Night on December 15, which will include tastings of 18th century foods and a lecture on early American cookery.

Other events will spotlight more specific aspects of NYC’s vast food-centric history—and present. A November 30 tour and tasting at the Brooklyn Navy Yard will delve into the “whiskey wars “ and Brooklyn’s history since 1801, followed by a tour and tasting at the Kings County Distillery, the city’s oldest whiskey distillery. Also in Brooklyn, an “Oysters 101” panel discussion on December 1 will examine the oyster’s “pivotal place” in the city’s history.

This winter will also feature events with cookbook and culinary authors discussing the food they love. Chef and restauranteur Marcus Samuelsson will appear at the Museum of Food and Drink on November 21 for a discussion celebrating his audio cookbook Our Harlem, while a November 22 event with Catherine Urban will celebrate the release of Urban’s Your Astrological Cookbook. Though better known for his musical background, Questlove will shift his focus to food at a November 22 TimesTalks event, as the Roots drummer talks food, music and creativity in conjunction with his upcoming book, Mixtape Potluck.


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