Small Bites: Eat, drink, read local

Alphabet soup: At Avenue M, food and books come together at a monthly event, Eat Your Words. Photo by Bill Rhodes

Avenue M offers food for thought at a new monthly series focused on local authors, cuisine and drink. “Eat Your Words” is a combination book- and supper-club that features a reading and discussion by a selected author, accompanied by a four-course meal that reflects the theme of the writer’s work.

The first event featured Patti Digh and her book, Life Is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally, a collection of inspirational short stories and a guide to achieving a more meaningful life. Why 37 days? The idea was inspired by Digh’s stepfather, who passed away 37 days after being diagnosed with cancer. The menu primarily involved comforting, homestyle food, including macaroni and cheese, chocolate pudding and vegan meatloaf. "Things that made people think of when they were home, when they were young," says Teri Siegel, Avenue M co-owner and organizer of the event. In her book, Digh suggests carrying birthday candles and using them "with wild abandon. Find a cause for a birthday candle celebration every day for the next 37 days." So, as a take-home gift, all Eat Your Words participants received a box of birthday candles.

"It was everything I hoped it would be," Siegel. "They enjoyed the food and interacting with the author and each other. Ten of the people are signed up for the next one," she says.

The next Eat Your Words event takes place on Thursday, Nov 17. The featured author is Vicki Lane, who wrote Under the Skin. Siegel says that the menu has not yet been solidified, but references to food run throughout the story, set in the heart of Appalachia, hinting at the likely culinary offerings of the evening. "There's a reference to trout, a reference to stir-fry, there's a bunch of different food references in there," Siegel says.

Malaprop's Bookstore has a list of the upcoming featured Eat Your Words authors and dates on its website (http://www.malaprops.com/book-clubs). All featured books can be purchased either through the website or at the store, located at 55 Haywood St. Reservations must be made with Avenue M, by calling 350-8181.

Space for the events is limited, as Seigel says that she doesn't want to overcrowd the room.

"I think we're onto something really fun and exciting," says Siegel. "That's part of my dream for this space. To be able to bring the community together and get to meet the local authors [over] food and drink, single people meeting other people — it's fun."

Avenue M is located at 791 Merrimon Ave. For more information, visit http://avenuemavl.com.

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