Virtual conversation with cookbook author Stephanie Thompson scheduled for August 25

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Stephanie BennettThompson

Arkansas Folk and Traditional Arts will host an online book conference with Stephanie Bennett Thompson, who will share details and stories from her cookbook titled Down South: A Collection of My Mom’s Recipesfrom 1 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. on Thursday, August 25. This event is free and open to the public, and registration is required.

In her cookbook, Thompson includes recipes for everything from hot water cornbread to ambrosia salad. Almost every recipe includes a hint from Thompson’s mother on how to achieve the perfect flavor or texture, and many entries also include color photos.

Lauren Willette, host of this webinar, says she is happy to introduce Southern foods as an important part of Arkansas folk life.

Willette noted, “Stephanie’s cookbook includes down-to-earth recipes that almost every Arkansans grew up eating regularly, so it’s nice to see these recipes from Stephanie in print alongside tips and anecdotes that helped me bring back memories of watching my grandmothers cook both large and small meals from my own childhood.”

Thompson was born and raised on a farm in Emerson, a small town in southwestern Arkansas. The eldest of four children, she learned to cook very early. After graduating from high school, she served in the Air Force. Her tour of duty included the Gulf War, where she helped build and maintain a field hospital. After her service, Thompson attended Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia where she earned two degrees: a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master of Education in Counseling. She founded Thompson Consulting, a professional development consulting firm, in 2007. She is the author of Brave: a memoir and Love yourself first: a novel. She is currently a full-time writer and motivational speaker who enjoys cooking and taking long walks. She is married with two children and lives in Hot Springs.

“I write because it gives me a place for my memories and my hopes,” Thompson said. “I wrote this cookbook to remember and share the wonderful skills I learned in the kitchen with my mother. They were really tough times, but she knew how to make do with what she had and how to present it well.”

Thompson further added that her mother taught her cooking as a skill to use in many ways, saying, “It’s a skill and an attitude that has carried me far. To this day, my family and friends can gather around my table for the southern favourites.”

Questions regarding this program can be directed to Willette at [email protected]

Arkansas Folk and Traditional Arts is a statewide program at the University of Arkansas Libraries dedicated to building cross-cultural understanding by documenting, presenting, and supporting the living traditional arts and cultural heritage of Arkansas.

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