Authors use food and cooking in their writing for a variety of purposes: to add authenticity or local flavor to a scene, to develop characters, even as metaphors for memory and, ahem, other activities (aww yeah…).  It’s only fitting, then, that the Capitol Hill Community Foundation should use those authors’ works to raise money for the DC Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative through “A Literary Feast,” an annual evening of more than 30 dinners hosted by Hill residents with themes inspired by literary works.

This year, A Literary Feast will take place on Saturday, October 25th, and the deadline to sign up for one of the dinners is Monday, the 6th.  Don’t worry if you haven’t read the book – these dinners are inspired by the stories, settings and occasionally the dishes presented in their respective titles, and they’re meant to be more supper club than book club.

Details on the event and a link to the sign-up form after the jump.

For the past three years, A Literary Feast has been one of the Capitol Hill Community Foundation’s premiere events, helping to raise more than $100,000 for arts and educational causes (last year’s beneficiary, the School Libraries Project, received $30,000 from the event).

The concept is simple but fun: sign up for one of the various themed dinners listed on their website, plan an outfit that fits with the theme of your dinner, then show up at the appointed address on the evening of the 25th and prepare to mix and mingle with other Hill-people.   Will you know anyone else in your dinner party?  Probably not, but meeting new people is part of the fun.  At the end of the evening, party-goers from all of the dinners will convene at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church (3rd and A, SE) for dessert courtesy of Ben & Jerry’s.

And the hosts are known to go all-out in their preparations for the party.  According to a Hill Rag write-up of last year’s Feast, Leah Daniels of Hill’s Kitchen hosted an Italian-themed evening including a tasting of various olive oils that was inspired by Bill Buford’s Heat.

You can find descriptions of the various dinners on A Literary Feast’s website – useful considering the fact that not every book is as blatantly food-focused as Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma or Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.  A Persian feast is planned for those who attend the Persepolis-themed dinner.  English boarding school dishes (vegetarian-friendly) are planned for a dinner themed after Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  I’m especially intrigued by the vegetarian menu planned for Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife, as it promises a “time warp through the culinary fashions of recent decades.”

Tickets for all of the themed dinners (inclusive of the dessert after-party) start at $75 per person, but the reply form includes sponsorship options all the way up to $1000.  No matter what level you choose to participate at, all but $15 of your payment is tax-deductible.

So take a look at the various feasts on offer this year and get your response in ASAP.  The form gives you a chance to list your top four party preferences – don’t be surprised if you don’t end up with your top choices as space is definitely limited.  For more information, email or call Jennifer Dalzell at (202) 543-3642.