If you know me, you know that I love porridge. During my time in Copenhagen, I was inspired by the restaurant Grød, where porridge was is not a pasty gruel that you eat just to be able to slog through your day (though grød does mean gruel in Danish), but rather a cozy bowl of deliciousness. With ingredients like heirloom rye, pea shoots, fermented rhubarb, toasted hazelnuts, and wild greens, I had a hunch that porridge could be a hit in many U.S. cities. Porridge is the epitome of hygge food, a danish word that means something along the lines of "beyond cozy" and is pronounced something along the lines of "hoo-gah". The concept of hygge has been popularized over the last year (it was shortlisted on the Oxford English dictionary's word of the year in 2016), but several years ago I returned with a new appreciation for hygge and all that goes with it, including porridge and, of course, candles. We may be approaching the first day of spring, but the weather is still ripe for hygge and, really, hygge (and porridge) can be embraced in any season if done right!
Since this danish epiphany, the porridge shop idea has been just a fun daydream until a few months ago when I finally put on a porridge pop up at Pizzaiolo restaurant in Oakland. I'm hoping to put on a few more at Pizzaiolo (so grateful to them for letting me crash their wonderful and cozy restaurant!), but meanwhile, I'm trying out a new concept. A few badass women maker friends and I are putting together First Course - a pop up featuring not only delicious porridge, but also limited edition art - including a hand-thrown bowl by my friend Sarah Koik (that you both eat out of and get to take home). This eat-your-porridge-keep-your-bowl idea has been a fantasy of mine, so I am ecstatic to see it come to fruition!
Other participating makers include beeswax candles made by amazing artist (and dear friend) Lauren DiCioccio, custom brass cast spoons by jeweler Christy Natsumi, and a set of cloth napkins/tea-towels hand embroidered by Nadia Lachance.
To reserve your spot at First Course, visit Sarah Owen Studios. Here's the porridge menu, just in case you need a bit more culinary enticement. Most produce is sourced from Top Leaf Farms, an urban farm less than 2 miles from the event, or it is foraged by yours truly, and millet was grown locally by Farmer Mai.
- Millet and chicken tamari: Seared radish, crackling, and wood sorrel sauce.
- Buckwheat, wild greens, and goat gouda: Soft-cooked egg, crispy shallots, and pea shoots.
- Heirloom mixed-grain and rhubarb-apple crisp: Cardamom, yogurt, molasses, and bay nut.
I'll be sure to post a few recipes later on, but meanwhile get your tickets and see you there!