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Archive for the ‘Events’ Category


Eat Good Food is here!

Eat Good Food is officially on our shelves and in stores across the country–I can’t believe the big day is here! The work we’ve done would not be possible without all the input of everyone in our community– the dedication of our staff, the passion of our producers and the commitment of our guests who support us.

The authors having a good read!

I’m encouraged that many venues are excited to have me come speak and share our tips for better shopping and eating. My book tour won’t take me to every audience I’d like to speak with (I could spend a year doing that full time!), but to a few places that are dear to my heart.

First, a couple of panel discussions that I hope will help consumers realize how much influence they have over the food choices available to them at supermarkets. In New York, I will be at the Brooklyn Kitchen moderating a panel of local retailers, farmers and distributors discussing the challenges of getting food from farms to our shopping baskets.  Here in SF, I will participate in a discussion at the Commonwealth Club on the same topic, moderated by Naomi Starkman.  Whether you live on the East Cost or in the Bay Area, please consider joining me at one of these events.

I will also be heading up to Portland to cook a dinner with Cory Schreiber, an old friend who put Northwest cooking on the map, at the Portland Culinary Institute. The event is a fundraiser for the Sauvie Island Center, a non-profit that educates youth about food, farming and the land (similar to some of our work at 18 Reasons). While in Portland I will also do a signing at my favorite grocery chain in the country, New Seasons Market. If you have not gone there, you need to check them out—they are amazing supporters of their community and promote the hell out of good food in a manner that is accessible to all. From Portland, I will be heading to Seattle to do a dinner conversation at the Pantry at Delancey—a venue that was inspired by Bi-Rite as a model for positive community involvement.

I invite you to join me at any of these events; even if you can’t make it, I hope the book will stand on its own and become a frequently-referenced part of your kitchen library.


Kids Rule: Youth Programming at 18 Reasons

18 Reasons ran our first ever youth camp this July, and it was one of the real highlights of the summer for us.  Over the course of one week, our eleven campers took care of sheep and chickens in the mornings and in the afternoons learned to make pizza from scratch. From milling their own flour that they later kneaded into dough, to pulling mozzarella and making tomato sauce, the kids made everything we needed to throw the best pizza party ever on Friday afternoon.

Teaching kids proved phenomenally rewarding for us; it allowed us to fulfill our mission in whole new, rich, and powerful ways.  “Deepening our relationship to food and each other” is our calling, and watching these 9-11 year-olds master new cooking skills, care for animals, and get excited about food allowed us to help them do just what our mission prescribes.  It was rad! So much so, that we are doing a lot of youth programming, starting this fall with Peanut Butter and the Pen, a creative food writing after school program on Wednesdays.  Students will tackle letter writing, autobiography, fiction, and basic grammar skills all while writing about (and tasting) food.  We’re also developing some camp ideas for school vacation weeks; we’ll keep you posted!

As part of our efforts to expand our youth programming, 18 Reasons is also reaching out to the garden coordinators, teachers, nutrition counselors, and parents who teach our children.  We’ve worked with the Green Schoolyard Alliance and the Nutrition Education Project to identify needs in the education community that 18 Reasons is equipped to address.  As a result, we’ve planned two new programs: First, we’ll be holding furlough day workshops on how to cook and teach in edible school gardens; these classes will help facilitate teacher comfort using outdoor classrooms to teach all sorts of skills and subjects.  Second, 18 Reasons is hosting quarterly support and community building sessions for garden coordinators working in San Francisco schools.  We’ve got the space to bring people together, and we cannot think of a better group of people to get in the same room and share skills than those who are teaching the City’s kids.

As always, thank you for your support of 18 Reasons as our programming evolves. Your ticket sales and membership dues support all of this exciting new work, and we honestly couldn’t do it without you.


SWAP: Homemade Family Dinner

On the second Sunday of each month* at 5 PM, the quiet that descends on 18 Reasons is sudden, slightly electric, and yet calmly happy.  During the proceeding half hour, moms, dads, couples, friends, and eager cooks have happily clambered into 18 Reasons, arms full of soup, braises, curries, breads, salads, and the occasional dessert.  They have each set their offering (a continuum from vegan to meat loving dinners) out on our table, said hi to familiar faces and introduced themselves to new ones, announced what they’ve made, and then, quick as anything, swapped out their meals for those of four others.  Arms now loaded with a completely new bounty, each person has trotted back out the door, gone again for another month.  All that is left is that air, charged with the vibrancy of the 12-15 cooks.

Our monthly “SWAP: Homemade Family Dinner” is, hands down, one of my favorite events at 18 Reasons.  Though only a quick 30 minutes, SWAP manages to engender each of the core principles of our organization.  It brings people together to share food and meet each other. It requires that people cook meals from scratch but holds no expectations for fancy ingredients or laborious cooking preparations.  But it also doesn’t penalize if someone wants to get a little creative with their kitchen acrobatics.  It asks that people think about others, since it will be other bellies that are nourished by the meal they are making. It helps people put good, honest, homemade food on the table even when schedules are furiously hectic.  It suggests that if we plan ahead and work together as a community, we can eat well all of the time.  

Here are some photos from our most recent SWAP, which is co-hosted by A Little Yumminess, a blog written about kid friendly foodventures in the Bay Area.  Anyone is welcome, and our definition of family is broad, so come join us next month! More information is available on our website.

* May only SWAP: Homemade Family Dinner will be on the third Sunday of the month at 3:30PM. In June we will return to our normal second Sundays at 4:30.


Peanut Butter and the Pen

Last Saturday we at 18 Reasons paired up with Take My Word For It to offer a creative writing workshop with 3rd-5th graders. Since Valentine’s Day was around the corner, the children wrote love letters to their favorite foods.   I thought I would share some photos since they show the awesomeness of the morning much better that I could describe it!

Dear Lovely Pesto

All in a Hard Day's Work

A Room Full of Children, Food, and Creativity!


DIY Desserts at 18 Reasons

Greetings from 18 Reasons! I wanted to share a fabulous blog post from Irvin Lin, who co-leads our monthly bakers’ social hour,  DIY Desserts, with fellow dessert lover Melanie Duve (Melanie’s Blog).  Irvin writes the baking blog Eat The Love and he describes last month’s event with such verve and joy that I couldn’t keep it to myself.  He sums up why 18 Reasons hosts DIY Desserts perfectly. Here’s an excerpt and a link to the full post (which includes photos of DIY Desserts and a killer genoise boysenberry cake recipe):

“Once a month, the amazing 18 Reasons, a community space affiliated with BiRite Market, holds a DIY Dessert evening where they invite people from all over the San Francisco Bay Area to stop by and bring a dessert based on that month’s theme. I’ve been co-hosting the DIY Desserts for the past couple of months and the awesomeness that has occurred there is nothing sort of amazing. This past January’s theme was no different with their New Year’s “Make Something New!” theme where they challenged bakers to bring something they had never made before (good, bad, ugly).  . .

. . . Tart sweet lemon shaker bars, and tangy plum balsamic jam bars were a great treat to munch on, while  whoopies pies totally brought back childhood nostalgic memories. Well, someone’s childhood nostalgic memory, as my childhood memory was of red bean paste desserts and pineapple cakes, but you know what I mean.  . . And then there’s Suzie who showed up with cake she dubbed “Rum Disaster Cake” because she had a problem unmolding the cake from the pan. I LOVED that she showed up with a cake full of personality, named it the “Rum Disaster Cake” and owned up the fact that not every cake looks perfect. What matters most is how it tastes, and this cake was a winner. Moist and wonderful with tropical coconut and boozy rum flavors married together for an awesome dessert delight.

. . .  I had a chance to sample some ridiculously good desserts as well as meet some awesome people, which is really what the DIY Dessert event is all about. Meeting local bakers and dessert lovers and eating desserts! Don’t you wish you could be there? If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area you can! It’s the second Wednesday of every month at 18 Reasons.”  Full post here.

Thanks, Irvin for being so ridiculous and awesome yourself. And for spreading the love.

DIY Desserts takes place on the second Wednesday of every month from 7-9PM at 18 Reasons.  Come join us – we welcome all bakers of all levels!


Biographies Told Through Wine

Greetings from 18 Reasons!

On January 18th, we are launching a new type of wine class that I am excited about and so I wanted to chime in here and give you some background.  As I learn more about wine (thank you, Trac, Matt, and Sarah), I am as inspired by the stories behind the wines as I am by the lovely stuff in the bottles.  I am curious to know what drives winemakers in their pursuit of The Great Bottle? Is it taste? Romance? Science? We decided to find some answers by developing a storytelling wine class.  During each class the selected wine maker will tell you his or her story through words and wines, pouring the wines that inspired them as they tell the story of that inspiration.  They are simple classes – no 12 bottle drunken extravaganzas – and we hope that their quietness will allow for us to ask ample questions, have a good conversation, and learn about why the wine we love came to be.

First up is Don Heistuman of Aha Wines and the maker of Bebame. For anyone who has tasted Bebame, Don’s Cabernet Franc/Gamay blend, it is clear that Don is an American winemaker marching to the beat of his own drummer.  Devoted to making wines reminiscent of the Loire Valley, Don proves that California soil can produce elegant, structured, and low alcohol French-style wines. During this two hour class we will learn his story by tasting the wines that inspire him and the one that inspiration produced.  The class is January 18th, from 7-9PM and tickets are still available here.