An idea that has been brewing in the back of chef Tracy Darling’s mind for over a decade has finally come to fruition. Pop Up Fox Cities is a triple-layered project aiming to create a collaborative environment that looks at food and dining from a whole new perspective.
The three legs of the venture are pop-up, pop-over and pop-u-late. Pop-up, as in pop-up dinners, creates temporary dining experiences in unusual locations. Darling hopes to host two a month.
Pop-over is a once-a-week meal pick-up through a monthly subscription. This is an opportunity to not cook one night a week, explains Darling. The meal features nutritious food with no trace of processed ingredients.
Pop-u-late revolves around people enjoying food through community events and also helping those in need. Darling would like to use the professional resources she has from many years in the culinary industry to feed those in need.
Some may know Darling from her work at the rural Village Hearthstone restaurant in Hilbert.
“During my time at the Village Hearthstone, I worked to bring real, local ingredients into a restaurant setting because we were in the middle of all these crops and farms. It seemed natural to take advantage of that.”
Pop Up Fox Cities is a deepening of that same notion – eating the food that is being grown right around us. It’s about the artistry and the wonder of eating right here in Wisconsin.
A pop-up event featuring Nordic cuisine and Inna Larsen of Madison playing the hardanger fiddle is planned for November 5 at The Draw in Appleton.
“This is a cold weather climate, ancient and primal approach to food,” she says. “It involves lots of smoking, curing and brining. But the newer version of Scandinavian cuisine is playful, whimsical and it’s fun to eat. Also, full disclosure: I am Norwegian, but don’t worry, there isn’t any lutefisk happening at this meal.”
Visit popupfoxcities.com for more info on upcoming events and how to purchase tickets.
Food is about survival, health and pleasure. It’s hard to name another thing in the human experience that’s like that. It’s not completely true of sex or oxygen. Food offers us a panoramic landscape of things that are crucial to existence and pleasure. It’s one of the things that makes us human – the ability to enjoy food.
Food has enormous social and political capital. When reading the news in this era, a lot of us feel pain for those who are suffering and don’t have food. What can one person do? I don’t really know, but this is what this person can do.
We want to serve diverse cuisines in unique settings. Maybe art galleries, apple orchards, or even a factory where someone is making an artisan product.
Text: Hannah Fen
Photos: Kim Thiel