Building Community with Visual and Culinary Arts

To share her new hand-illustrated cookbook with the community, Sarah Jesup ’20 hosted a salsa-making session in the VCAM Kitchen with help from the Hurford Center’s Student Arts Fund.

For Sarah Jesup ’20, cooking is about more than just food. The people she is cooking with are paramount. After compiling many of her favorite recipes into one illustrated cookbook, the artist and amateur chef wanted to share them with others. In the Visual Culture, Arts, and Media (VCAM) building’s community kitchen, she did just that, hosting a cookbook-launch party and salsa-making event, where attendees could go home with a free copy of Jesup’s book and some freshly made black bean salsa.

“I have a series of illustrated recipes that I have been working on for the past two years,” said Jesup, a double major in fine arts at Haverford and psychology at Bryn Mawr. “They are gathered from various communities, including my church, my neighborhood, my favorites, and old family recipes. It has been a goal of mine for a while to make these into a book, so that I would be able to share a cookbook of my favorite recipes with others, and kind of have a concrete display of the work that I’ve done.”

Roughly 30 people gathered around the kitchen to make the salsa from scratch. With all of the ingredients—black beans, peppers, tomatoes, onions, cilantro—in front of them, visitors to the VCAM got the chance to see first-hand how the cookbook’s handmade illustrations worked alongside one of its recipes.

“Sarah’s event was really fun, convivial, and topped off with some delicious salsa,” said Mallory Kastner ’21. “I especially loved how interactive the event was. Most attendees participated in the salsa-making, and it brought everyone together.”

As a fine arts major, Jesup specializes in printmaking and also pursues freelance design and illustration through her art instagram, Lines and Letters Art. Elsewhere on campus, she is also involved with Customs and the student-led arts space James House. As someone who likes to host events on campus, she was able to merge her interests in food and art with the salsa-making cookbook launch party.

“Food is such a part of community for me, and I would like to share this with others at Haverford, who would all bring different backgrounds and their own experiences,” said Jesup.

To make the cookbook and the accompanying event possible, Jesup applied for funding from the John B. Hurford ’60 Center for Arts and Humanities (HCAH)’s Student Arts Fund, and also received support from the VCAM’s Sequoia Community Kitchen Fund. As a member of the HCAH Student Advisory Board, Jesup wanted to show what kind of student support the funds have to offer.

“I think it’s important to make these projects visible so that others on campus see all the things you can do with the Hurford Center support,” said Jesup.

Photos by Lily Xu ’19