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

By Alison Durkee

Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away, giving New Yorkers the chance to gather with loved onesand think about food. Whether you’re looking for a new way to celebrate the holiday or just want to learn more about the culinary world, you can mark this food-stuffed season with these upcoming talks and events.

The highlight of New York’s Thanksgiving festivities this year, as always, will be the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, with appearances by stars like Diana Ross and John Legend. Those wanting to start their festivities a day early can head to the Upper West Side Wednesday evening to see the balloons as they’re inflated outside the American Museum of Natural History. For a more historical way to celebrate the holiday this year, head to the Brooklyn Brainery to learn more about Thanksgiving’s real history at a talk November 16. Jewish New Yorkers and those wanting to experience a different sort of tradition can attend a special Thanksgiving Haggadah at the JCC Manhattan on November 9. The staged reading, which is based on a Passover seder, will mark Thanksgiving with a tale of people around the world coming to America.

Plenty of upcoming food events will give New Yorkers the opportunity to connect with some of those global cultures that have ended up in the U.S. The Museum of Chinese in America will host a panel discussion November 8 on the cuisine of China’s Yunnan Province, which will include tea and spirits for attendees. The Museum of Food and Drink will look at “soul food” and the African Diaspora with an event November 14 featuring chefs Carla Hall and Pierre Thiam, before turning its attention to the longstanding Christmas connection between Jewish people and Chinese food December 21. The event will include comedic “speed dialogues;” a presentation by Rabbi Joshua Eli Plaut; live chef demos and tastings; and a Kosher Chinese Night Market.

Of course, New York is home to a very vibrant and global food and drink culture itself. Discover more about the Lower East Side’s history and food scene with a multi-ethnic eating tour offered by Big Onion Tours (various dates), or head to Brooklyn for Big Onion’s Brooklyn Distilled tour, which explores the history of distilling and brewing in Brooklyn, including a tour and whiskey tasting at the Kings County Distillery. Get an in-depth look at one Lower East Side food staple, the Little Italy gourmet shop Di Palo’s, at a talk and Italian food tasting with owner Lou DiPalo November 8.

Other upcoming events will explore our diets and what we eat. On November 8, learn more about your child’s nutrition and how to ensure they eat properly at a conversation at the 92nd Street Y, which will feature experts from the Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone. 92Y will then host another conversation November 28 with scientists Paul Dawson and Brian Sheldon, who will tackle common food myths and answer common questions about food and germs.

New Yorkers can also hear from top chefs this November and December. Chef Marcus Samuelsson will appear at a live edition of NPR’s Code Switch on November 16, and Michelin-starred chef Anita Lo will discuss her new cookbook, Solo: A Modern Cookbook for a Party of One, at an event November 8. On December 12, learn more about Paul Freedman’s The 10 Restaurants That Changed America and what goes into its rankings at a conversation with Freedman and Mayukh Sen, which will be followed by a reception featuring dishes from two of the 10 listed restaurants.

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