Editor's Picks

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Susanna Foo

Wed., Sept. 14, 7pm. Free. Free Library, 1901 Vine St. 215.686.5322. www.library.phila.gov

The breadth of flavor in Chinese food has been grossly underestimated for decades by Americans whose palates can't handle anything more experimental than a takeout container of General Tso's chicken. Susanna Foo has been working to change this since opening her acclaimed Philadelphia restaurant and writing her first cookbook Susanna Foo Chinese Cuisine. Schooled both by family tradition and the classical French techniques of the Culinary Institute of America, Foo's approachable yet dynamic take on cooking has won her two James Beard awards. Fusion recipes, which normally sound good on paper, can often result in ill-advised experiments involving seaweed and chocolate. But in her newest cookbook Susanna Foo Fresh Inspiration, a multitude of culinary traditions are mined for their ability to showcase each ingredient's strength. This diversity is represented in more than 150 recipes, which incorporate jalape�os and water chestnuts alike. So when you decide to make "Wok-Shaking Shrimp with Pink Peppercorns and Korean Pancakes served with Citrus-Cured Salmon," or "Mandarin Potato Salad with Cellophane Noodles," the taste of Foo's sweet success will leave you panting for more. (Emily Brochin)



Democracy Matters With Cornel West

Mon., Sept. 12, 6:30pm. $6-$12. Kirby Auditorium, National Constitution Center, 525 Arch St. 215.409.6700. www.constitutioncenter.org

Cornel West, one of the country's most famous scholars, discusses his latest book Democracy Matters at the fall's first Citizens' Constitutional Conversation. A follow-up to his immensely successful 1993 work Race Matters, Democracy analyzes the current social and political atmosphere of the U.S., which West believes is transforming into a less dynamically democratic system. West offers solutions rather than merely checking off a laundry list of criticisms. His approach is always multidimensional, focusing on his many fields of expertise, most notably those of philosophy, race relations, religion and music. In 2001 controversial Harvard president Lawrence Summers questioned West's professional decision to make a hip-hop album. True, Sketches of My Culture was released by Artemis Records, which is also responsible for the Baha Men's "Who Let the Dogs Out." But to be fair, Sketches integrated material from West's most famous lectures. Whether it was a cheesily conceived attempt to appeal to youth, the scholar is nevertheless one of the only members of academia to even attempt to reach beyond their elite bubbles to engage the next generation of thinkers. (Emily Brochin)

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