The 15th annual Fall for the Book welcomes its largest line-up ever of cookbook authors and food writers. From surveys of ethnic flavors through a healthy dollop of school spirit and to a memoir of modern-day agricultural struggles—and tastings, don’t forget the tastings!—the festival offers a little something for all palates on Thursday, September 26, at the Hylton Performing Arts Center on George Mason University’s Prince William Campus. A 6 p.m. panel discussion with all of the participants is followed by cooking demonstrations, tastings, and book sales and signings from 7-9 p.m. The entire evening is sponsored by Write by the Rails, the Prince William Chapter of the Virginia Writers Club. Media sponsor is Potomac Local News. Admission is free, but be prepared to purchase your favorite books and have them signed by the authors.

Norman Davis is the co-owner of The Sweet Life, a custom cakery in Annandale, Virginia. Davis and partner Zane Beg have competed in twelve Food Network Challenges and four with TLC/Discovery, have been seen on the Oprah Show, and have designed cakes for the Washington Post, President Clinton, Rosie O’Donnell, T. Boone Pickens, and singer Patti Labelle, among others, and People Magazine chose The Sweet Life to represent Virginia in their feature “A Cake From Every State.”

Since opening their first restaurant in Washington, D.C., the highly acclaimed Equinox, more than a decade ago, Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff Gray have risen to the top of the city’s vibrant culinary scene, and their Harvest Moon Hospitality Group now includes four restaurants, two catering companies, and partnerships with leading brands and institutions. Todd Gray is also the culinary director for Salamander Hotels & Resorts, which opened a luxurious estate in Middleburg in August. The Grays’ book, The New Jewish Table: Modern Seasonal Recipes for Traditional Dishes, examines the couple’s culinary and personal lives, reveals how rewarding the sharing of two people’s traditions—and meals—can be, and proves them once more as pioneers in the movement to promote regionality and seasonality on the plate.

A Taste of Virginia Tech offers recipes from the best of Blacksburg’s eateries, both on- and off-campus, and explores the college’s culinary history through essays, remembrances, and more. Editors Krista Gallagher and Kris Schoels are both proud VT alums; Gallagher majored in Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, and Schoels earned her degree in Fashions Merchandising.

Dave Lefeve of Market Salamander in Middleburg, VA, will be joined by his wife, novelist Claudia Lefeve, whose young adult speculative fantasies Parallel and Paradox incorporate her husband’s recipes. The Lefeves are Manassas residents and Claudia is a member of Write by the Rails.

Forrest Pritchard’s memoir Gaining Ground: A Story of Farmers’ Markets, Local Food, and Saving the Family Farm offers glimpses into the business, politics, and personal struggles of modern-day agriculture, and charts the author’s own journey from lost profits to renewed prospects for the future. In a starred review, Publisher’s Weekly praised the book’s “remarkable odyssey of food from farm to table” and called Pritchard himself “a born storyteller.”

Michael Stein is a staff writer for the blog DCBeer.com, which “seeks to promote and grow the DC area’s craft beer culture through its locally focused beer website and its tasting and educational events.”

Joe Yonan is Food and Travel editor of The Washington Post, where he writes a monthly column, Cooking for One, and regular feature stories. He is a two-time James Beard Foundation award-winner for best newspaper food section and the author of Serve Yourself: Nightly Adventures in Cooking for One and Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook—and notes that his recipes also gives tips on making meals for two!

From beet soup, pierogies, and potato pancakes to mazurkas, babas, and more, Peter and Laura Zeranski’s Polish Classic Cooking and Polish Classic Desserts offer not just a tour of Poland’s culinary landscape but also a taste of the country’s history, heritage, and customs as well. Including the most iconic national dishes as well as a wide range of flavors from peasant fare to haute cuisine, these books seek both to preserve the traditions of Polish cooking and to update techniques for the modern kitchen.

Fall for the Book’s 2013 festival is September 22-27 at George Mason University and locations throughout Northern Virginia, DC, and Maryland. Go to www.fallforthebook.org for more details.

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