Tables of Contents Dinner Events

In partnership with Egg Restaurant, Riverhead Books, and Food Book Fair, and presented by Squarespace, we hosted two events that brought to life some of the most exciting literature of the year.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019: Jennifer Croft, Leanne Shapton, and Pitchaya Sudbanthad

For this reading, we teamed up with our kindred spirits over at Riverhead Books (yes, they of the fabulous tote) and Food Book Fair to bring y’all a stunning lineup of Riverhead authors.

The evening featured readings from Pitchaya Sudbanthad’s brand new and loudly lauded Bangkok Wakes to RainJennifer Croft’s translation of Olga Tokarczuk’s Booker-Prize-winning Flights, and Leanne Shapton’s highly anticipated Guestbook, plus snacks inspired by the authors’ passages paired with each reading. Created and curated by Egg chef Evan Hanczor, the evening concluded with a wide-ranging discussion and Q&A between the authors and Evan. 

Scroll through photos above and listen to audio from the event below.

Leanne shapton, guestbook

One of our most imaginative writers and artists explores the visitations that haunt us in the midst of life, and reinvents the very way we narrate experience.

OLGA tokarczuk, flights

From the incomparably original Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk, Flights interweaves reflections on travel with an in-depth exploration of the human body, broaching life, death, motion, and migration.

Pitchaya sudbanthad, bangkok wakes to rain

An elegy for what time erases and a love song to all that persists, yearning, into the unknowable future.

Monday, March 18, 2019: Marlon James presents Black Leopard, Red Wolf

MARLON JAMES, BLACK LEOPARD, red WOLF

In the stunning first novel in Marlon James’s Dark Star trilogy, myth, fantasy, and history come together to expore what happens when a mercenary is hired to find a missing child.


Biscuits

by George Weld and Evan Hanczor of Egg

We start every Tables of Contents reading with plates of mini biscuits, warm and buttery, welcoming our authors and guests to the evening. They quickly help to settle everyone into a feeling of comfort and community.

Your goal is to hit the perfect midpoint between extreme delicacy on the one hand and structure and strength on the other. You need to work quickly, with a light hand, to keep your biscuits light and delicate. But not so delicately that your biscuits crumble in your hands when you pick them up. You need to work the dough enough that your biscuits have some structure and hold together when you slather them with butter and jam. But not to work them so long that they become dense and chewy.

You want to make a friend of gluten as you work with biscuits: it’s the protein that lies latent in all wheat flour waiting for moisture and exercise to draw it into action. As soon as you add milk to your flour mix, gluten starts to develop, and as you work at your biscuits, it develops more and more. Gluten is what you want when you knead dough for bread or pull at your pizza crusts. When you’re working on biscuits, you want to get just enough to hold everything together and no more. If your dough starts to feel elastic or springy, you’ve gone too far.

It just takes practice to get biscuits right. The good news is that your trials will still taste good, especially when they’re fresh from the oven. The recipe is simple enough that you can try it once a week without putting yourself out much.

Makes 10-12 (including rerolled scraps)

KEEP ALL INGREDIENTS COLD AND DRY THROUGHOUT

3 1/4 cup (1 pound) pastry flour

2 cups (10 ounces) bleached all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons baking powder

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon sugar

6 ounces cold butter, cut into small pieces

2 1/2 cups soured milk (to sour milk, add 2 ½ tablespoons cider vinegar 2 3/8 cups milk; you can use good quality buttermilk as well, but avoid most of the supermarket swill)

Preheat oven to 500°F

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar and blend well

Toss the butter pieces into the flour and blend it well with your fingers—you’ll squeeze and pinch the butter into the flour until it’s well-mixed and no piece of butter is larger than the fingernail on your smallest finger. The flour should resemble cornmeal. You want to do this step as quickly as possible so the butter does not begin to melt, but be thorough: getting the butter right is your best hedge against tough biscuits.

Add milk to the flour and butter. Working quickly, mix the milk in with a rubber spatula, mixing only until the dough begins to hold together.

Dump the dough onto floured work surface. Gather it together and pat briefly to flatten. Fold the dough over on itself 3 or 4 times, then pat into a rough rectangle about 3/4"-1” thick. Use a bench scraper to ensure dough isn’t sticking to table.

Use 2 1/2" biscuit cutter to cut biscuits from dough. Do not twist cutter as you cut the biscuits. If the biscuits stick to the cutter, dip it in a little flour before cutting.

Place the biscuits onto a well-buttered baking sheet. They should be almost touching. Brush tops lightly with buttermilk.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the biscuits are golden, well-risen and light; if they feel wet or heavy, bake them longer.