Lynne Rosetto Kasper was in Salt Lake this weekend, promoting KUER and her new book, The Splendid Table's How to Eat Weekends. On Saturday, local food writers Ted Scheffler (City Weekly), Vanessa Chang (Edible Wasatch, etc.) and myself were on a panel with the host of the long-running NPR food show at a lunch held at Memory Grove.

The menu (prepared by Culinary Crafts catering, was straight from the book: Yucatan pork, cooked in banana leaves (cochineal pibil), black beans, rice, tomatillo salsa, jicama and mango sticks with chile and lime, and a version of  the cookies known as Mexican wedding cakes, with watermelon water.

Sadly, no beer or tequila.

The panel discussion, moderated by KUER reporter Andrea Smardon, turned immediately to food politics and stayed there. These days, that's what happens when you get a bunch of foodies together–some of the talk might include where you ate last (for me, Finca), food trends (how does local jibe with global on the plate) and the latest food gossip (Johnny Kwon of Naked Fish and Viet Pham are planning to open a restaurant together), but the subject that loosens the tongues is food politics: the Farm Bill, sustainable farming and whether it's feasible, the growing "nutrition gap" between rich and poor in this country, school lunches and the regulations regarding our food.

Actually, we also talked about funeral potatoes. (See Salt Lake magazine's July/August issue, on newsstands in a few weeks.)

It was a spirited discussion and could have gone on for much longer than the hour and a half allotted to it, and besides provoking thought about all these food issues, it made me reflect on how lucky Utah diners are to have such lively and intelligent people curating their food scene. (Here's to Ted and Vanessa.)