Projects & Classes

Dirty Pages

“I tell my daughters that when I go, they’ll know the good recipes by the dirty pages.” – Kim McKinney

dirty pagesCookbook pages ringed with coffee stains and smudged with chocolate. They’re the recipes we refer to again and again. But beyond the dishes they help create, these pages hold stories.

This notion of dirty pages inspired an interactive exhibit that features 18 Nashville women. Part photography and part recipe storytelling, Dirty Pages helps demonstrate who we are through the foods we cook and eat. The project aims to celebrate our shared food stories and give a glimpse of the abundant variety of Nashville’s food traditions and cultures. The exhibit debuts at the  Nashville Farmers’ Market on March 19, 2015, with an opening night dinner. On display for a month, the exhibit also will be complemented with a series of public programs. All proceeds from dinners and programming benefit Mesa Komal community kitchen and the work they do with food entrepreneurs.  Read more about Dirty Pages in the Nashville Scene and The Tennessean.

(Dirty Pages photography by Andrea Behrends.)

(Dirty Pages photography by Andrea Behrends.)

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Read it, Write it, Eat it: Food in literature on the page to the pen to the plate

NashStoryStudioFrom Proust’s madeleine to Quentin Tarantino’s Royale with Cheese, food has long served as a writer’s muse. In these classes, we’ll read and discuss excerpts from fiction, nonfiction, poetry and even listen to song inspired by food. We’ll explore the ways food can help us make deeper emotional connections in our work. And we’ll eat, of course, as some dishes will be inspired by what we read while others will inspire us to write our own stories.

Session One will look mainly to nonfiction. Readings might include M.F.K Fisher, Laurie Colwin, and Calvin Trillin. Then I’ll feed your bellies and your creativity as we launch into writing exercises.

Session Two will focus on fiction. We might read from classics such as Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises and Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate to Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club with dinner and writing exercises.

2 sessions: Sunday, Nov. 3 and Sunday, Nov. 10, 1 pm – 3 pm
East side location: TBA
Price: $50 for either session; including brunch! Sign up for both sessions for $85.

To reserve a spot, contact Jennifer at jenniferjustus8@gmail.com

Learn more about Nashville Story Studio at facebook.com/NashvilleStoryStudio or nashvillestorystudio.com.

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The Skillery Culture Kitchen

As famed chef and writer James Beard once noted, “Food is our common ground, a universal experience.”

So what better way to learn about a culture than through its cuisine?

CK_logo800wThe Skillery Culture Kitchen series aims to connect us at the table by teaching new culinary skills while also providing cross-cultural exposure and bridging gaps in understanding one another. We learn about the foodways of an area from the people who have lived and cooked there.

In our first sold-out class, we featured Najat Al Zahawi from Kurdistan. Nashville has the largest Kurdish population in the country, so in this class we learned to prepare Kurdish Biryani served with salad, Kurdish flat bread, tea and Arak, a Middle Eastern liqueur made with fermented dates. But we also learned Najat Al Zahawi’s personal stories behind these dishes as well as why they are important in Kurdish history and foodways.

In future classes, The Skillery Culture Kitchen will take us to places like Mexico to learn about mole and tamales as well as Bhutan, India and Somalia. We’ll also make an occasional stop at home in the American South to learn about traditional foods often forgotten such as beaten biscuits.

Students of the Culture Kitchen not only learn to cook the dishes they taste at the dinner, they’ll walk away with recipes and insider tips on locations and ingredients to shop for in Nashville’s Kurdish markets. They’ll learn the back story of the dishes — both personally and historically — and they’ll leave with a deeper understanding of a place and its people.

To keep up with future Culture Kitchen classes, visit facebook.com/theskillery or theskillery.com.