Fall Speaker Series Programs
The Ancient Fruitcake: What Really, Really Old Food Tells Us about History, Culture, Love and Memory with Harriet Baskas
Date: Monday, October 22, 2018
Time: 6:00 PM
Location: Civic Center Auditorium, 401 S. Balsam
Partner: Moses Lake Public Library
Sponsor: Humanities Washington
This talk is not about the old leftovers in the fridge. It is about food that is so old, so unusual, or so meaningful, that no one dares throw it away. Discover the foods archeologists have found buried with mummies, the petrified banana so appealing it sparked a Banana Museum, the 350-year-old fruitcake
handed down through generations, 2000-year-old bog butter; and the pickle that has been in a jar since the 1860s. During this “chew and chat,” author and broadcaster Harriet Baskas explores how and why these and other formerly fresh foods may have been forgotten, intentionally tucked away, or preserved due to unusual or peculiar circumstances. And, more importantly, we’ll talk about how these and other vintage vittles can and do hold memories, tell stories, and connect us with family, culture, and history.
Harriet Baskas has a Masters in Communications from the University of Washington, and has served as the general manager for three community radio stations in Oregon and Washington. She is the author of seven books, including Hidden Treasures: What Museums Can’t or Won’t Show You, and has created award-winning radio programs on topics as varied as cowgirls, unusual museums, aging boomers, and the Seattle World’s Fair for National Public Radio and regional public radio stations. Seattle based, she currently writes about airports, air travel, museums, and other topics for NBC News, CNBC, USA Today, and other outlets. Baskas lives in Seattle.
Children’s books such as Curious George and Goodnight Moon are often beloved by children, sparking their imaginations and providing warmth and comfort. But books like these can also inspire adults— helping us
to imagine ourselves in a new way and think about society from a new perspective. In this talk, University
of Washington lecturer Anu Taranath will showcase children’s books from around the world as well as diverse communities in the US, inviting audiences to take a closer look at kids’ books, and suggests we adults might also learn some new lessons about how to navigate our complicated world. Within these seemingly simple stories are important messages about how we think about our differences, and importantly, how we might rethink our similarities.
Anu Taranath is a senior lecturer at the University of Washington specializing in global literature, identity, race, and equity. She is the recipient of University of Washington’s Distinguished Teaching Award and a “Best of Seattle” designation from the Seattle Weekly, as well as multiple national Fulbright awards and fellowships. She also works as a consultant for schools, colleges, libraries, community organizations, and government agencies on social justice and global issues. Taranath lives in Seattle.