David Hammond, a corporate communications consultant and food journalist living in Oak Park, Illinois, is a founder and moderator of LTHForum.com, the 8,500 member Chicago-based culinary chat site. David is a regular contributor of restaurant reviews and food-related articles for Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, TimeOut Chicago, Local Beet, and Chicago Reader, which published his seven-part guide to regional Mexican food in the city. He has also contributed food writing to blogs such as the Local Beet and Grubstreet Chicago. With his friend Michael Gebert (creator of Sky Full of Bacon video podcasts), he hosted a cable documentary on Hispanic chow at Chicago's Maxwell Street Market,and has just completed working on a video about Taste of Melrose Park. A returning guest on WLS and WGN AM radio, David produces the "Soundbites" series on the James Beard-nominated Eight Forty-Eight (Chicago Public Radio, WBEZ, 91.5FM); these radio pieces examine how Chicago chefs use sound in their kitchens; listen here: http://tiny.cc/QpCTA. David was featured on "Good Morning, America," "Chicago, Tonight," and Nippon TV when he developed recipes for preparing seasonal cicadas, which invaded Chicagoland during the spring of 2007. More information, including writing samples and bug-cooking videos, can be found at www.dchammond.com.
In Oak Park last spring, we had a food truck rally that can only be described as a "disappointing success." This parking lot-based (Pilgrim Church) gathering of food trucks generated a huge turnout of villagers — so much so that some vendors ran out of supplies within the first 30 minutes and many more within the first hour.
I met my wife, Carolyn Berg at Kalamazoo College in Michigan. We both chose this small, liberal arts school largely because of its foreign study program. To celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary, we booked passage on the Zaandam, a ship in the Holland America Line. This 14-day cruise docked at a number of ports in Southeast Asia, including Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, China and Hong Kong.
Six years ago, my friend Seth Zurer and some associates founded Baconfest, an annual salute to pork belly that draws thousands of enthusiasts and contributes thousands of dollars to the Chicago Food Depository.
At City Lights in San Francisco, I found a Bukowski reader and paged through it. Then I experienced one of those reading events I've had maybe three times in my life. The rush-hour street traffic outside seemed to go silent, the bright California sun dimmed, and every word I read rang hard in my heart. I felt, as with only a few other poets (Bill Knott, maybe Patti Smith) that here was a writer I immediately understood and appreciated.
In St. Croix in the United States Virgin Islands, I had what is to-date, in my experience, the gold standard of conch. Instead of pale and rubbery-verging-on-leathery strips, the spectacular conch I had on several occasions at different restaurants around Christiansted was unidentifiable as the same lower-grade seafood served in the States.