I’m sure that by now you’ve already noticed that we’re huge fans of the Tenderloin National Forest, as we think it’s one of the best things that has happened to this neighborhood. There are many reasons to love them madly, but today I discovered a new one: they have a pizza oven! And they use it every so often when they have an art opening, community gathering, concert or party. Such as today’s ‘Fresh from the oven‘, an interdisciplinary event hosted by Amara Tabor-Smith who is a dancer, choreographer, cook and basically a multi-talented artist at large. With some dough donated by Arizmendi Bakery, she made some delicious pizzas in the aforementioned wood-fired oven, which was built by local artists Becca Laflor and Stella Breslin. Here you can see Amara checking on one of the pizzas:

And here you can see the resulting pizza, which in my opinion was even better than the one sold at Arizmendi (I think this is a magic oven):

Although Amara Tabor-Smith is a professional dancer and choreographer, it seems that lately she’s gotten very interested in dance performances around food and storytelling, exploring the role of history and memory in our contemporary relationships with food. She said she’s very interested in the personal stories that link people to places and memories through food, which she weaves with dancing and music. For example, she said her mother is from Louisiana but she was born and grew up in California, so her connection with those roots is gumbo. This time she didn’t make gumbo, but Brazilian feijoada which some believe was a “luxury” dish of African slaves on Brazilian colonial farms.

So in Amara’s exploration of food and cultural identity she’s been organizing events like this one in which she feeds people and talks to them about their relationship to food, usually including music and dancing. She’s been doing them at friends houses, markets, community centers or various other places like the ‘Forest’. To find out about the next one, she has a mailing list that I immediately wanted to be part of. After today, I sure hope to taste/talk/see more from her.

By the way, I found this recipe for a ‘Recession Root Stew‘ by Amara that sounds great. I’ll have to try it one of these days…