Nan Kramer ’10 Teaches “Slow Food” to Asheville Community
(October 30, 2013)
When Nan Kramer ’10 steps into the kitchen, someone is about to learn a lesson.
“I feel like all life lessons come up in the kitchen,” Kramer said. “Seriously. It’s sharing, it’s getting along, it’s being nice. It’s learning how not to waste stuff.”
Kramer’s work with Slow Food Asheville and FEAST (Fresh, Easy, Affordable, Sustainable, Tasty) began at UNC Asheville, when she was studying in the “Food for Thought” cluster and attended a required lecture from Slow Food. The presentation inspired her to start a Slow Food program on campus and launched her involvement in the program she has come to dedicate her career to.
Now Kramer takes these lessons—and a lot of fresh food—into middle school home economics classrooms, community centers, and even UNC Asheville’s Teaching Kitchen. The health and wellness promotion graduate serves as president of the Board of Directors for Slow Food Asheville, and assistant director and lead teacher of the Slow Food program, FEAST. She has a lot on her plate between teaching free, hands-on cooking classes to kids and making a difference in middle school classrooms.
“Its really a way of empowering them to make healthy choices, and knowing how to use fresh food and where it comes from and feel comfortable with it, so they’ll continue to make those choices throughout their life,” Kramer said.
A kitchen full of kids, hot stove burners, and sharp knives may seem perilous. But Kramer comes prepared, and extra volunteers in the classroom help provide supervision. Taking the safety precautions are necessary, Kramer said, because giving the kids hands-on experience in the kitchen is vital.
“As long as the kids are preparing the food, they will try it,” Kramer explained. “I’m not guaranteeing they’re going to love it.” But Kramer has found her students usually enjoy the food they create together.
After the lesson is over, Kramer is often able to send the kids home with extra produce from the class.
“Not only is it a value to them and their health, but also to their family,” Kramer said. “These kids are taking home kale, they’re taking home beets and apples and peaches, and then they’ll come back and tell me, ‘Miss Nan, I made that with my mom and she said it was so good.’”
“UNC Asheville is 100 percent directly connected to everything. It makes me really happy when I think about it,” Kramer said. “We started Slow Food on campus, and through that I got on the board of Slow Food Asheville. Then that’s how I learned about FEAST, and how I came into FEAST, and then how I became president—it just all started with UNC Asheville.”