Engage all of your senses and learn about the art of cooking in North Carolina! On October 16, 1-4 p.m., the Orange County Historical Museum, in coordination with the North Carolina Botanical Garden, will present a special program featuring two speakers, two food tastings, and a meet-and-greet tour of the Museum’s exhibit “What’s Your Flavor?” The event will begin at Eagle Lodge in downtown Hillsborough with presentations by Deena Class, a member and instructor with the North Carolina Botanical Garden, and A. Spring Council, project manager at Mama Dip’s Kitchen. Participants will then travel to the Museum where many of the artists will be available to talk about their work displayed in the exhibit. Each talk will include paired dishes to taste.
1 p.m. Deena Class, Ph.D., will present, “Native North Carolina Plants to Enrich the Palate.” Dr. Class began studying herbalism and working with plants for health and wellness in 1997. In the 2000s, she traveled abroad, living in seven different countries across four continents where she deepened and broadened her knowledge of plants. Relocating to the Piedmont of North Carolina in 2014, she fell in love with the North Carolina Botanical Garden and now folds native plants into her gardening, cooking, herbalism, skin care product making, and natural dyeing. To accompany her talk, Dr. Class will provide sumac berry “lemonade” and beauty berry jelly on crackers.
2 p.m. Spring Council will discuss “Mama Dips: Past & Present.” Ms. Council started her career at Mama Dip’s Kitchen as a server when she was 18 years old. Over the years, she worked in all aspects of the restaurant business and has many memories to share about the restaurant, her mother Mildred Cotton Council, and the processes involved in preparing to entertain. Ms. Council will provide some traditional treats from the menu of Mama Dips.
3 p.m. Many of the artists featured in the Orange County Historical Museum’s current exhibit, “What’s Your Flavor?” will be on hand at the Museum to talk with about their work. “What’s Your Flavor?” takes a creative look at heritage cooking in Orange County by pairing historic cooking utensils with contemporary art pieces and by telling when and how popular flavors were added to Orange County cooking. It puts the “art” into “artifact!” Eight North Carolina artists of different heritages were invited to create works of art inspired by food-related pieces in the Museum’s collection. These artists include: John Beerman, Hannah Dodson, Carlos Gonzalez Garcia, Anne Hobgood, Senora Lynch, Chieko Murasugi, Jermaine “JP” Powell, and Tom Stevens. In addition, the exhibit also includes illustrations by North Carolina Botanical Artists Circle members including graduates of the North Carolina Botanical Garden’s Certificate Program*: Sherry Graham, Lisa Holmsen*, Mary Knierim*, Eugenie “Gigi” McDonald*, Pippa Merrick, Miriam Sagasti*, and Ruta Schuller*.
The exhibit also contains many fun interactive components like recipe cards to take home. One of the recipes on hand is Brunswick stew, a traditional Piedmont dish, and event participants will be able to sample some of this delicious dish.
Other hands-on elements include: spices to identify, seek-and-find activities, true-or-false questions, and identifying whether plants are native to North Carolina. Information used to create this display was provided by the North Carolina Botanical Gardens.
Museum exhibits and programs coordinator Courtney Smith said, “The Museum’s ‘What’s Your Flavor?’ exhibit would not have taken its current form without the collaborative assistance of the North Carolina Botanical Garden. We are thrilled to continue our partnership with them by offering this special event.”
The cost to attend the program is $30. For further information and registration, visit www.orangehistorync.org or call 919-732-2201.