This chef wants to continue that legacy
In an uncertain world, chef Nadine Nelson knows one thing for sure.
"People love pie," the chef and educator told me. "I don't think there's anywhere in America or the world where people would be like, 'Oh, I don't like pie.'"
On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, she hosted a virtual event with the organization "Peace Through Pie" about culinary community activism, called "The Power of Pie." And she told me about the link between pie and the Civil Rights Movement — about Georgia Gilmore, who founded the "Club to Nowhere," an underground resistance group that cooked and sold savory meals as well as baked goods (apparently pecan pie was Dr. King's favorite dessert) to raise money for transportation during the Montgomery bus boycott. In 2019, Gilmore's belated obituary was featured in The New York Times series "Overlooked No More."
So, as Nelson sees it, she is continuing a longstanding tradition.
"What MLK did was wonderful, but the women were running the operations!" she said.
Nelson runs a lot of operations. Her own organization,"Stir the Pot," promotes citizen action with a similar goal.
"It's getting people involved in their neighborhoods, understanding you can use your talents and passions to create a better community and environment and get to know your neighbors," she explained. "It's people gathering to cook food and learn about how they can be agents of change within their realm of influence. You can use your gift to make change. That might be in your school or your kid's school, a church or civic organization or an alumni group.
"A lot of times I think people look at volunteering and think it's something boring. But you should find what you love to do and volunteer that way."