The Mushroom Festival Comes to Kennett Square

Plus, Dinner in the Orchard at T.S. Smith Benefits the Food Bank of Delaware, Taste of the Riverfront Comes to Wilmington, Delaware Saengerbund Celebrates Oktoberfest and Taste of Newark Celebrates 10 Years

Mushroom Madness

How many ways can you eat a mushroom? Find out at the 28th annual Mushroom Festival Sept. 7-8 in Kennett Square, self-proclaimed Mushroom Capital of the World and rightly so. The fun happens up and down Mushroom Boulevard (otherwise known State Street the rest of the year). There will be a grower’s exhibit, tours of a local mushroom farm, a tent full of food, an official mushroom soup, live music for people of all ages and dozens of vendors. A highlight: The National Fried Mushroom Eating Championship. It happens on Saturday, in the special events tent, as competitors challenge last year’s world record: 5.5 pounds of breaded, fried mushrooms devoured in eight minutes by Jamie “The Bear” McDonald. Watch the fun. Then eat all you can.

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Celebrate Fall to End Hunger

Once in a while your Insider gets his social conscience on. Here are some facts we should know about hunger, according to the Food Bank of Delaware:

Hunger in the United States is an invisible epidemic felt only by those who experience it
 and those who try to end it.

Hunger does not discriminate against gender, weight, color or ethnicity. It does not stereotype. It’s affecting a working family of four, a single mom and her two children, a college-educated man who recently lost his job to illness and an elderly woman living off of a small monthly Social Security check.

The United States Department of Agriculture reports that in 2009 49.1 million Americans struggled to feed themselves.

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About 17,500 different people receive food assistance through the Food Bank’s network of hunger-relief partners in any week. The Food Bank serves 241,600 people, and that number is rising. As the economy continues to slow and food prices skyrocket to all-time highs, more and more Delawareans will seek help.

Forty-four percent of the people in households served by The Food Bank of Delaware are
 children under 18 years

Hunger will not end until its root causes—lack of job training, education, transportation, childcare, literacy, affordable housing, healthcare and drug treatment, to name a few—are addressed.

But you can help. One way is to attend regular benefit dinners corrdinated by The Food Bank. The next is Dinner in the Orchard on Sept. 12. It happens at the beautiful and historic T.S. Smith & Sons farm in Bridgeville, where food straight from the farm will be prepared by students from the Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware and local chefs to benefit the Food Bank’s Milford branch. It’s a celebration of autumn to end hunger. 444-8074,

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Rollin’ on the Riverfront

What’s that? You say you haven’t been to Wilmington’s Riverfront in a while? Visit on Sept. 14 for Taste of the Riverfront. The admission is free. The entertainment is free. There will be a free movie screening. And there will be free food, too. Neighborhood restaurants will be setting up to show you what they’ve got. And that’s some good stuff. You’ll have to attend to see who shows, but just take a gander at all the great places to eat and drink in the area, then start your dining safari:

On the riverfront: Kooma Restaurant & Lounge Bar, Joe’s Crab Shack, FireStone Roasting House, Iron Hill Brewery, Molly’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream and Deli, Big Fish Grill on the Riverfront, COSI, Veritas Wine and Spirits, Harry’s Seafood Grill, Riverfront Market, Bain’s Deli, Ubon Thai Cuisine and Frawley Stadium, Timothy’s on the Riverfront

In LOMA: Shenanigans Irish Pub and Grill, Zaikka Indian Grill, Extreme Pizza and LOMA Coffee That makes for easy walking. Lace up.

Why Isn’t it Septemberfest?

You know the annual Oktoberfest of the Delaware Sangerbund as a reason to drink, sing and dance. We like it as a reason to eat. Visit the event in Newark Sept. 20-22 for such German specialties as grilled bratwurst (pork sausage), weisswuurst (veal sausage), frankfurters, pretzels and rollmops, a marinated herring served with rye bread. Potato salad and sauerkraut—lots and lots and lots of it—are made in the Delaware Saengerbund kitchen by the Ladies organization. A variety of torten and traditional plum cake are the tempting sweet fare. So get in on the shoe slapping, then dig in. 366-9454,

Noshing in Newark

Prepare for the 10th annual Taste of Newark on Sept. 29 on the lawn of the University of Delaware’s Old College off Main Street. Enjoy food from more than 50 Newark restaurants,  accompanied by 30 of the finest wineries and wine distributors in the area. This year the festival will host David Puser, executive chef of the Swiss School of Tourism and Hospitality. Puser began his lifelong fascination with cooking after his first job as a busboy in California. He spent four years in the Coast Guard aboard an ice breaker before earning enough tuition to fund his studies at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. Puser worked and traveled widely until he landed in Switzerland in 1989. He has been director of the Swiss School of Tourism for the past 10 years. He’ll be among the chefs offering cooking demonstrations. Newark chefs will compete in the annual “Iron Chef” style Battle of the Chefs. They include Anthony Carnevale from 16 Mile Taphouse, Jeovany Valle from Caffé Gelato, Mark Chopko from Courtyard Newark, Donny Merrill Jr. from Skipjack and Jeff Matyger from Taverna Rustic Italian. It will be quite a competition, and quite a day. Tickets sell out quickly, so rev up that debit card now. 368-2561,   

Our Best of Delaware Elimination Ballot is open through February 22!

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