As you wend your way through this weekend's Tucson Festival of Books, take a deep breath.

Smell the garlic cooking? Got a whiff of curry? Catch the sizzling of meat grilling? Hear the clinking of wine glasses?

If so, you've found the Culinary Tent, where cookbook authors, chefs, wine experts and foodies come together to whip up a few dishes and talk about good eats and drinks.

The tent will hold about 250 for each of five daily sessions, says Don Luria, chairman of the culinary committee.

And - this is one of the best parts - about eight tasters will be randomly pulled from the audience for each session. Luria suggests lining up 10 to 15 minutes early to increase your chances of grabbing a seat at the table.

The only exceptions to that, said Luria,are the sessions for wine and spirits. those tasters, likely professionals in the field, will be selected ahead of time.

These hourlong sessions (plus about 30 minutes allowed for book signings) will look as cool as any kitchen you might find on the Food Network.

"There will be a mobile kitchen on a raised platform," says Luria. "There will be two tables on each side of that kitchen for the people who get to taste the food or beverage."

The author (who is also at times the chef) will talk about the food, some of Tucson's top chefs will be preparing it, and a moderator will see to it that questions are asked - of the authors, chefs or even the tasters - in an orderly fashion.

Here's the full schedule. So save your appetite and mark your calendar.


• 10-11:30 a.m. - Bob Spitz, author of "Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child." Tucson's Donna Nordin, who once assisted Child, will prepare two of Child's favorites. Janos Wilder, chef/owner of Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails, will be the moderator.

• 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.- Bruce Aidells, author of "The Great Meat Cookbook: Everything You Need To Know to Buy and Cook Today's Meat." Albert Hall, chef/owner of Acacia Real Food & Cocktails, will assist, and Barbara Fairchild, the former editor-in-chief of Bon Appétit Magazine, will moderate.

• 1- 2:30 - John Mariani, author of "How Italian Food Conquered the World." Massimo Tenino, chef/owner of Tavalino Ristorante Italiano, will assist, and cookbook author and food historian Linda Murray Berzok will be the moderator.

• 2:30-4 - Meeru Dhalwala, author of "Vij's at Home: Relax, Honey: The Warmth and Ease of Indian Cooking" and "Vij's: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine." She'll be assisted by Ryan Clark, executive chef at Lodge on the Desert. Jennifer English, host of Bottoms Up! Radio Hour, will moderate.

• 4-5:30 - Tony Abou-Ganim, author of "Vodka Distilled." He'll be assisted by Karl Goranowski, the beverage manager at 47 Scott restaurant. The panelists are Casino del Sol's mixologist Aaron DeFeo, Eric Farmilant, mixologist at 47 Scott, and Ramiro Scavo, the chef/owner of Pasco Kitchen & Lounge. English will moderate.


• 10-11:30 a.m. - Laura Werlin, author of "Mac & Cheese, Please" and "Grilled Cheese, Please." She'll be assisted by Bill Toto, sous chef at Azul Restaurant at Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa. Michael Luria, executive director of Children's Museum Tucson, will moderate. This session will have a designated tasting table for kids and another for adults.

• 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. - Georgeanne Brennan, author of "Salad of the Day" and "The Davis Farmers Market Cookbook." She'll be assisted by Kevin Fink, director of operations at Zona 78. Judith Mattson, editor and publisher of "Tucson Local Food News," will moderate.

• 1-2:30 - Heather Shouse, author of "Food Trucks: Dispatches and Recipes From the Best Kitchens on Wheels." She'll be assisted by Bryce Ward, with Café a la C'Art. David Aguirre, the organizer of Tucson's food truck movement, moderates.

• 2:30-4 - Alice Feiring, author of "Naked Wine: Letting Grapes do What Comes Naturally." A panel of experts join in - Jay Wisniewski, owner of Tempe's Caffe Boa; Yvonne K. Foucher, owner of CataVinos Wine Shop; Rick Paz, sommelier at Fleming's steakhouse; Jon Rogers of Wines Without the Mystery; Kevin Anderson, sommelier, Whole Foods; Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild; and Doug Levy, owner/chef of Feast. Bonnie Lee Lewis, who writes the Pour Me Some blog for the Tucson Citizen, moderates.

• 4-5:30 - Author Meeru Dhalwala has an informal talk about Indian regional cuisines. Writer and editor Edie Jarolim will moderate.

If you Go

• What: Fifth annual Tucson Festival of Books.

• When: 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

• Where: University of Arizona campus. Attendance and parking are free.

• What: About 450 authors, book discussions, workshops and literary activities for the entire family.

• Sponsors: The UA and the Arizona Daily Star. The University of Arizona Medical Center is the presenting sponsor. Net proceeds will promote literacy in Southern Arizona through the Tucson Festival of Books Foundation, a nonprofit organization.

• Bookmark it: Go to for more information.

• Social media: Follow the festival on Facebook at and go to to follow on Twitter.

• Mobile: Apps are available for iPhone, Android devices and Kindle Fire.