Hello! My name is Ayat Soufan. I work here at the Jackson Center as a part of the Food Justice program. I began my work here during my fall semester at UNC when I joined the Bonner Leader Program. This whole experience of working at the Jackson Center has really made my first year at Carolina much more enjoyable. I have truly enjoyed every day I have worked here. Some of my favorite memories I have made here are associated with our upcoming project, the documentary cookbook, A Place at the Table.
In case you haven’t heard of this project before, this cookbook isn’t just an ordinary cookbook you can find on the shelves. This book will contain personal stories, recipes, and pictures that we have been collecting from interviews with members of the Northside community. Even though I haven’t been directly involved with most of the interviews, I have listened to a lot of them, and they are all so unique. I think that these stories of where the recipes came from and how they learned them are what make this project so unique. The book will not just contain recipes, but there will also be a personal component to the book that will add a lot to it.
The whole process of making the cookbook has been really fun, but one of my favorite memories occurred when we were at the beginning stages of planning. We were asking around for recipes from community members and we had collected a couple recipes from the ladies who work downstairs at the food ministry in St. Joseph. Khristian (another person who works in the Food Justice program) and I both asked the ladies to make us some cakes since my birthday was coming up. We weren’t expecting them to really make us the cakes, but the next week, we came to work and they had both made us cakes! We had a little party downstairs in the food ministry and it was super fun! That’s one memory that will always stick with me because it was really nice that they took the time out of their days to make us those cakes! Also, they were both really delicious!