A couple of weeks ago I wrote that Leigh Anne Tuohy, the woman played by Sandra Bullock in the movie “The Blind Side,” is coming to town to speak at the Feeding Hope 2012 fundraiser for the New Hampshire Food Bank on Sept. 12.
In a serendipitous turn of events, Sandra Bullock's sister, Gesine Bullock-Prado, a master pastry chef and author, is also coming to town in support of the New Hampshire Food Bank. In addition to teaching a master class to the students in the New Hampshire Food Bank culinary program, Bullock-Prado will also be giving a baking demonstration at a public event on Thursday, Sept. 13, at 6 p.m.
This Bakin' A Difference event only has room for 40 people, so tickets aren't cheap at $125 a pop. But this comes across as one of those “priceless” events that people who love to bake are willing to pay a little extra for. While a Google search of Bullock-Prado instantly reveals she is the Academy Award winner's sister, Bullock-Prado certainly isn't riding anyone's coattails. She has written several books, including her memoir, “My Life from Scratch,” and the confections cook book “Sugar Baby.” Copies of her latest book, “Pie it Forward,” will be given to attendees of the Bakin' A Difference event. And with Lindt USA coming on as the event's sponsor, I imagine there will be chocolate involved, too.
At her historic farm in Hartford, Vt., Bullock-Prado has a commercial bakery where she develops recipes for her books and uses eggs and fruit from her farm to bake. She also teaches at the King Arthur Flour Education Center and has appeared on the “Today Show,” “The Revolution,” “Fox and Friends,” the “Rachael Ray Show” and Food Network.
Her blog, “Confections of a (Closet) Master Baker,” is an entertaining read, even if, like me, you aren't a baker. She comes across as someone who doesn't take herself too seriously. Her free Gmail email address tells me she's pretty down-to-earth and the fact that she's donating her time to help out the Food Bank and its students is a testament to the fact that she's probably a pretty nice person too.
Colleen Cowette, the Food Bank's director of development, said she hopes this will be the beginning of a celebrity chef series for the non-profit. I hope it is too.
For tickets or more information, contact Cowette at 669-9725, x129 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A chili day in Henniker
I'm looking forward to my debut as a judge in this Sunday's Fire on the Mountain Chili Fest at beautiful Pat's Peak Ski Area. This is the 10th annual event sponsored by the Henniker Rotary Club and all proceeds benefit local, regional and international service and humanitarian projects sponsored by the club. Admission is $10, or $5 for children 10 and under and it's sure to be money well-spent, even if you don't like chili!
In addition to sampling of the chili entries by professionals and amateur chefs, the event features a car show, hamburgers and hot dogs, a concert by Jeff Dearborn and Chain Drive Wallet, children's activities and vendors.
Visit www.chilinewhampshire.org for a full list of events and times and I'll see you there.
Technology, tradition at CIGNA
The CIGNA/Elliot Corporate 5K Road Race celebrated its 20th anniversary last week. I've run or walked it a handful of times, and this year I was struck by both the technology and tradition of this popular community event.
I don't know whether technology even played a role in the first CIGNA race. The Internet told me that the timing chips tied to runners' shoes have only been used in road races since 1992. Before chips became main-stream, the end of a race involved being shuttled down a chute in the order that you finished. It's never fun being that close to sweaty strangers, some of whom are also getting sick.
The chip system was a huge step forward, but still created back-up and confusion as people dropped to the ground to release the chip from their shoe to turn it in after the race.
Today, the timing technology comes in the form of the runners' disposable, numbered bib; electronic signs at Veterans Park post individual results after the race. I clearly don't run in too many races, because I was the only one surprised when, of 6,000 runners, my name and racing time happened to show up as I approached the sign. The other more active racers in the crowd kindly told me the technology sensed my bib number was in the vicinity and knew to post my results. That blew me away.
But, even with so much change and growth, the CIGNA/Elliot race remains the same. Racers can still count on being doused with a hose, whether they want to or not, by Cindy Hamel as the course turns onto Thayer Street. And while I'm always inspired by the sea of runners ahead of me as I head down Canal Street for the second half of the race, I still say to myself and sometimes out loud, “Why am I doing this?”
After the race my selective memory always kicks in and I decide I've had a great time seeing new and old friends, with varying levels of athletic ability, get out and get moving. This year I especially enjoyed running into other Manchester moms in search of a little exercise and “me” time, including Liz Hitchcock, Tara Chynoweth and Kristine Cunningham.
Sure, most of us replaced the calories we burned, plus some, with a post-race beverage or two. But hey, it's tradition.
NH365.ORG Event of the Week
I'm not Greek, but I love Greek food and that's why I'm excited for Greekfest 2012 at Assumption Greek Church this weekend. Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., thousands of visitors are expected at the 111 Island Pond Road church to sample a variety of Greek food and pastry, all made by the parish's excellent chefs. Ice cream sundaes made with baklava or loukoumathes are some of the other special treats offered.
DJ Meleti will provide Greek music both days. A variety of vendors will be selling fine jewelry, gifts, crafts, ethnic, and religious items. Other highlights of the festival include a multi-prize raffle, a penny sale, children's activities, and tours of the church.
For more information on this and other Manchester area events, please visit www.NH365.org. And to have your Manchester event considered as the NH365.org Event of the Week, be sure to enter it in our free online calendar.
Katie McQuaid's Scene in the City column appears Mondays in the New Hampshire Union Leader. Email her at email@example.com.