Art Life, Famished Foodie

A Moveable Feast: 4 Hearty Lessons from Food Book Fair

If the age-old phrase that “you are what you eat” manifests itself literally, I’d be one giant avocado rolling around the streets of New York City #deadsexy. All jokes aside, many of us don’t take the time out to recognize just how much food and the art of dining shape our collective identities, memories and social politics apart from the obvious physical implications food has on our waistlines. I got a quick reminder of just how significant each bite lends to food for thought when I accompanied the motley crew at Ace Hotel New York as they hosted this year’s Food Book Fair. Here are 4 hearty lessons I learned from foodies & bookworms alike:

1) “Come to the table with an empty stomach and leave with a full heart.” ~ Warren Bobrow aka “The Cocktail Whisper” 

On opening night of the Food Book Fair, Warren Bobrow discussed his latest book, The Craft Cocktail Compendium, which encompasses a mixture of contemporary apothecary cocktails and silent nods to Robert Louis Stevenson.  I later struck up a conversation with Warren about the power of authentic connections through food. Warren expressed that his favorite personal mantra is, “Come to the table with an empty stomach and leave with a full heart” because by doing so, one will, in a more disarming way, gain a better understanding and appreciation of others and the places they come from. Take a seat around the table so that everyone can share food, drinks and candid conversations about life and witness how much more enriched you feel afterwards.

2) “Respect your fat.” ~ Samin Nosrat

Listening to keynote speaker, Samin Nosrat, author of  Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, transcended the literal mastery of her four basic elements of cooking and her passion took on a philosophical note that there’s also a delicate balance and contrast to the conditions we’re comprised of, including those we sometimes label as “bad”. We should learn to trust and respect our experiences for what they are rather than impose a fixed recipe on how we think they should be.

3) “Quod me nutrit me destruit” (What nourishes me destroys me).

Yahdon Israel of Literary Swag Book Club, through his examination of James Baldwin’s eating habits, eloquently stated that our food choices speak more to our alignments and how these choices can signal changes within us when it comes to self-care. Sometimes on the road to leading a healthier, woke lifestyle, we can tend to end up alienating ourselves from communities we long to be a part of owing to tradition and familiarity. In effect, our self-care may appear destructive, but in essence, part of “adulting” and owning your purpose lies in weeding out people and experiences that starve your soul.

4) Divine interventions come in all forms, including pastrami sandwiches!

The types of food we consume, along with our ritual patterns of eating and drinking, have immense power over our general outlook and mood. Food has the power to tackle everything from huge roadblocks such as anxiety, depression and stress, to the simple pleasures in life like finding a slice of heaven & home in a pastrami sandwich from 2nd Ave Deli similarly to Eli Sussman of Samesa.

Bon Appétit! 

Find out more information about Food Book Fair at