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Beans at the International Association of Culinary Professional Conference

I was the moderator for a seminar on, surprise, Heirloom Beans at the IACP conference in Denver last week. Along with me were Judy Witts (Divina Cucina) and Ruth Alegria (Mexico Soul and Essence) and the three of us told our stories about heirloom beans. I really loved meeting all the food professionals and showing them the thrill of the bean.

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(Hamming it up with Peter Perez (left) and David Hawk (right), both from the PR department of Chronicle Books, publishers of my Heirloom Beans: Great Recipes from Rancho Gordo book.)

I was able to eat at a few local restaurants including one with the revolutionary idea of using local ingredients like chickens from Petaluma, Calfornia. What, there are no chickens in Colorado? I did eat local lamb and bison and they were very good.

My panelist Judy Witts has published her first cookbook, Secrets of My Tuscan Kitchen and I couldn't be more proud of her. There are lots of simple, intelligent recipes and many of them feature beans, naturally. Firenze is known as the land of the bean eaters! Viva Florence, says I. You can order Judy's book now and she'll send you an autographed copy.

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(Judy chats with Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks, far left, and friend.)

Denver seemed nice but I didn't really have a chance to explore. I left Napa in shorts and a t-shirt and arrived to a blizzard in Denver. In the morning everything was dusted in snow. It was pretty wild.

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