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The Magic Table: Story and Cooking Class

This was a wonderful program and the first time I'd tried a cooking program with kids before. We invited Sheila Ahmed from nearby Harlan, to read her children's book "The Magic Table." You can learn more at her website: :

"The Magic Table" is a story of a very diverse family, who moved from a faraway land, to settle in rural Appalachia. Despite their differences, they opened their home, heart and hearth, to the people in their tiny mountain town. They embraced everyone in their own custom, culture and cuisine, while seamlessly blending in with their adopted Appalachian ways. They were the perfect balance of curry and cornbread.

After talking to Sheila, I learned her daughter runs Culinary Sprouts, a business doing kids cooking kits. Because the story includes a recipe for curry and cornbread, I thought it would be fun to add a curry making lesson element to the author visit. We ordered Chana Masala (Chickpea Curry) kits from Culinary Sprouts, which included a virtual cooking lesson through Zoom with Sheila's daughter (who was featured in the story!)

Sheila also had a table with her merchandise set up to sell, though all families in attendance received a copy of "The Magic Table" provided by the library.

It turned out to be one of my favorite library programs! Sheila was a most wonderful presenter, and insisted on scooting tables together so all attendees could sit together and eat their curry. She took time to speak to everyone and make them feel included. The program was lovely, and we got lots of positive feedback from patrons.


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