After Katrina, some of the hardest-hit public buildings were libraries. Entire collections were ruined by flooding and mold. When the American Library Association initiated a program encouraging libraries to help their colleagues in the Gulf Coast region, the Denver Public Library "adopted" the NOLA Public Library system and donated $15,000 from the 2006 DPL book sale. That effort started the wheels turning in the DPL Cultural Programming department, which decided to focus an entire Fresh City Life event on the South.
The "American South" schedule includes Southern music and crafts, a survey of black images in film and Deep Dish Southern Cooking Demos, which start today at 10:30 a.m. at the Denver Central Library, 10 West 14th Avenue Parkway. Gary Hvizda, owner and chef of Gumbo's Louisiana Style Cafe, will share a Cajun recipe and samples.
The rest of the series, which continues every Saturday through February 24, explores the diversity of Southern cooking. While researching local Southern food, Fresh City Life's Chris Loffelmacher found that it was hard to pigeonhole "true" Southern cooking. "The program is culled from all over the South," notes Loffelmacher. "Cajun cooking is different from soul food and then there is Joseph's [Southern Food], whose food is more Texan."