Last night I went to a very interesting dinner. I will freely admit to eating a snack mid-afternoon, knowing the dinner would be small samples of mostly vegetables. This was at the Discovery Institute, which is a really cool place with a Mesozoic garden and tiles on the floor that activate chimes. The dinner was put on by a seed collective consisting of vegetable breeders, farmers, and chefs, and after the dinner they had a short Q&A. The dinner itself consisted of going from station to station collecting small samples of food; each station featured a different vegetable, and some had different strains of the same vegetable, like different colored carrots or beets. Two stations had samples of hard apple cider. Everything was delicious, but my favorites were probably the potato soup, the carrot gnocchi, and the cucumber sorbet. I met a bunch of Slow Food people there, and we sat at a table under a bunch of trees, so it felt like we were in a forest inside. The most surprising thing for me may have been the little pork cutlet (the only meat I saw the whole evening) covered in tomatoes that I actually liked. I generally hate raw tomatoes, but these actually tasted good.
That’s what I love about Madison – you can find such crazy foodie stuff here, and lots of early music. Today at lunch I met Kathbert at the Lutheran Cathedral of the Midwest for a free all-Bach concert, though it wasn’t entirely all Bach because we sang a hymn to the tune “Down Ampney,” and if you are as big a hymn nerd as I am, you will know that is by Ralph Vaughan Williams. We thought it was going to be an organ concert, and we knew the organist, but to our surprise there was a whole little orchestra and four singers, and they did two Bach cantatas. We were even more surprised to find that we, the audience, were expected to sing during the closing chorales. Boy, were there some fantastic singers there! Kathbert figured there were a lot of vocal majors present. Afterwards one young guy who looked like an undergrad said to another one, “Best lunch ever!” I can’t say for certain that it was, but it was certainly up there.