The perfect holiday gift is beautiful, unique and filled with wonder. Gastro Obscura: A Food Adventurer's Guide is all of these things and more: a travel-lover’s delight with enough offbeat facts about food to spark countless conversations at the next cocktail party or event. The lavishly illustrated, newly published book from Atlas Obscura, the popular website that’s a crowd-sourced database of weird and wonderful places across the globe, is a journey through fascinating and often farfetched history, culture, places and traditions, told through the lens of food.

Gastro Obscura is rich with “did you know” gems. Did you know, for example, that The Citrus Collection at the University of California, Riverside, is the largest in America, containing more than 1,000 different citrus varieties across 22 acres? Or, that Beacon Food Forest in Seattle is the country’s largest public edible garden, teeming with 350 species of peans and vegetables and that anyone is allowed to forage here? Or, that Brooklyn Grange operates the largest rooftop soil farm in the world, producing over 100,000 pounds of organic produce every year (its Sunday farmer’s market are free and open to the public). And, you might not know that the country’s last known surviving  horse-drawn lunch wagon is the Owl Night Lunch Wagon, which dates back to the 1890s and is on display at the Henry Ford Museum in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn.

Cecily Wong and Dylan Thuras, the book’s authors, have been traveling  on their ambitious literary tour with what they call the “World’s Most Unusual Vending Machine.” The customized vending machine dispenses items like canned bread, a berry that makes lemons taste sweet, and a Rwandan spice that’s so tongue-scorching it’s dispensed by eyedropper. Sounds to us like a great interactive experience for a corporate gathering. To order the book or learn about upcoming tour dates, visit books.atlasobscura.com

 

Because many of our colleagues are caffeinated enough during these stressful months, why not gift them a gentler, kinder holiday beverage? The Warming Joy 2021 holiday collections from Tea Forté, a company offering handcrafted luxury tea blends that are served at some of the  finest hotels across the country and sold at retailers like Paddington Station in Ashland, OR, and Knack in Seattle, features a combination of black, green and herbal teas. The gift sets include seasonal favorites like raspberry ganache, sweet orange spice, cherry marzipan, harvest apple spice and winter chai.

 

Following the ILEA Edmonton Chapter Exclusive Canadian Watch Party with Richard Foulkes, CSEP, who spoke about commoditizing in the creative industry, we reached out to local creative legend and event planner, Alex Armstrong, for her take on the challenge... and she did not hold back.

NK: How do you define creativity? Is it a commodity?

 

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