The Story Behind the Recipe

The Story Behind the Recipe

by Jerry Slayton 

A collage of images. On the left; plump grapes on the vine. In the center; Gelatinous Jam in a jar. On the right; golden homestyle biscuits on a wood table.

When I was a young boy, I spent most summers with my grandmother, Maw-Maw. She had a lush garden with many vegetables and fruit trees. In the afternoons my cousins and I would race to the garden for a snack. Plump grapes, straight off the vine were our favorite.

In early summer, we would pick the last of the grapes off the vine and crowd into the kitchen to help our grandmother make preserves. We would gather around a large bowl and delicately separate the peels from the pulp, trying not to eat every other one. It was repetitive work but the time melted by as we chatted our way through hundreds of grapes. I never remember the cooking of the grapes –that was left to Maw-Maw. I assume our attention shifted to another game in another room of her house until she called us back into the kitchen and put us in charge of scooping the jam into mason jars and placing them in the water bath. After that, the jars were stacked and stored away in her pantry, a tiny dark room that felt 50 years older than the rest of the house. The days, weeks, and months that followed were sprinkled with loving breakfasts that combined fresh biscuits with the best grape jam you could ever taste.

Stories like these speak to our stomachs but also to our hearts. They offer us insight into each other’s lives and can build connections between strangers and across cultures. This summer Art Spark Texas has partnered with Austin’s Carver Library in an effort to support these kinds of stories.

The Story Behind the Recipe, Multimedia Art Workshops, Wednesdays, June 22-July 27. Carver Branch, Austin Public Library, 1161 Angelina St, 78702. Seniors (Artists 60+, 10-11:30am) and Young Adults (Artists 16-24, 10-11:30am)

During June and July, we are offering Austin Seniors and Young Adults a series of multi-media art workshops that focus on building connection through food. We will learn the tools of visual art and video to share these recipes and stories. The focus of the videos will be “The Story Behind the Recipe”. Seniors will participate in a 4-week series of writing, illustration, and video interview activities. Young Adults will participate in a 6-week series of new media training workshops on audio/video recording, animation, and editing. Each workshop covers a new tool and thus creates a new piece of content for our final videos. Our goal is to use the power of art to share Austin and Texas culture, and bring together two diverse groups of people around the central focus of food. Artists of all experience levels are welcome!

Alt text: Two images. On the left; A writer completing a page of writing. On the right; An animator using stop-motion animation to bring two figures to life.

The Story Behind the Recipe
Wednesdays, June 22 – July 27
Carver Library –1161 Angelina St, Austin, TX 78702
10-11:30 AM (Seniors) 1:30-3:00 PM (Young Adults)

The schedule: 
4 art classes for Seniors
6 art classes for Young Adults 
90 minutes each

Week 1: Storytelling and Recipe Writing (Seniors)
Intro to Stop-motion Animation (Young Adults)
Week 2: Write and Prepare for Interviews (Seniors)
Intro to Video, Prepare for Interviews (Young Adults)
Week 3: Interviews and Intro to Illustration (Seniors)
Interviews + Video (Young Adults)
Week 4: Illustration (Seniors)
Title Animation (Young Adults)
Week 5: Animating Ingredients + Video Production (Young Adults)
Week 6: Video Production + Editing (Young Adults)
Final Screening (Seniors + Young Adults)

Registration link:

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