I’ve been very lucky over the years to get to be “in conversation” with all sorts of incredible food and drink people such as Mark Bittman, Dana Cowin, Sandor Ellix Katz and now Steven Raichlen at my favorite bookstore on the planet — Powell’s Books. Steven Raichlen was in town last week for various events on his book tour for Project Fire, and I was the lucky one who got to spend the night asking him questions in front of a lively audience at the Cedar Hills Powell’s Books. Thank you, life.
Steven knows Portland well because Reed is his undergraduate alma mater, where he graduated with a degree in French literature, and was awarded a Watson Fellowship post-graduation to study medieval cooking in Europe. While he was a student at Reed Steven worked at Otto's Sausage Kitchen on Woodstock!
Steven arrived in Portland a day before our Powell's event, and he had already had a couple of yummy meals in town by then that he talks about in the beginning of our conversation linked below. He dined with some of his dear old Reed friends at Kachka and Afuri, and he told us about those meals, particularly the grilled components -- lamb at Kachka and robatayaki (skewered and grilled carrots and baby turnips) at Afuri. Steven was born in Japan, and there are some Japanese recipes in Project Fire, including a really yummy sounding yakitori recipe, that I'm looking forward to making this summer. I always wear a headlamp when grilling, but this summer I have to get my hands on these. Do you have these? So cool.
During the event, Steven and I drank rye from my lucky author flask that my friend Loly made and we laughed a lot. He's such a great storyteller! I guarantee you'll learn a few things and get some serious grill inspiration by listening to the audio. Intimate, engaging, inspiring and a wee bit revealing -- as all great book events should be. I really enjoyed his Bali story about making babi guling and slaughtering the pig. I also now really want to visit Chappaquiddick Island were Steven and his wife live for part of the year. And, I want to dine on a marzipan castle with a lake of wine. It will all make sense when you listen to the audio.
For those of you who couldn't make the event, I uploaded the audio here:
Steven did some radio and TV segments while in town including this KATU News AM Northwest spot with lovely host Helen Raptis. He also recorded an episode of The Four Top with Katherine Cole. I'm not sure when that becomes available, but I'm looking forward to tuning in.
Thank you so very much, Steven and Powell's, and thank you to everyone who came out for the special event!
Purchase Project Fire.