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KY Humanities Celebrates 50th Anniversary with 'Recipes from the River,' Highlighting Regional Cuisine and Culture

KY Humanities presents Recipes from the River on Saturday, September 17th, at 10 am at the Paducah Convention & Expo Center.
KY Humanities
KY Humanities presents Recipes from the River on Saturday, September 17th, at 10 am at the Paducah Convention & Expo Center.

Kentucky Humanities celebrates its 50th anniversary in partnership with the American Queen Steamboat Company and Paducah Bank with 'Recipes from the River,' a culinary event featuring four regional chefs sharing stories and recipes from along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. Austin Carter speaks to KY Humanities consultant Julie Klier and Chef Regina Charboneau ahead of the event.

"At the heart of Kentucky Humanities is everything that makes a community a community," Klier begins. "The dining experience and food experiences of Paducah led us to think about how Paducah is different than Pikeville, northern Kentucky, and southeastern Kentucky."

"We put together a food event which not only expresses the storytelling through recipes—which is at the heart of what Kentucky Humanities does; we tell Kentucky stories—and the four chefs all have different stories about the recipes that they're going to demonstrate and the food that will be sampled by everybody who comes to celebrate with us," Klier continues.

"Each community, no matter how small or large, bonds together with the very things that make us human. Whether it's when we cook together, converse together, explore together—all these different types of humanitarian things make our community what it is. Everybody has a really strong sense of community, especially around food," Klier says.

Chef Charboneau is also an accomplished author and instructor and has been lauded by the New York Times and the Travel Channel as the "Queen of Biscuits." Charboneau explains that one of her favorite parts of river culture is its diversity. "From the headwaters to the Gulf of Mexico—the different cultures and agriculture influence each section of the river."

"The upper Mississippi has a lot of Eastern European," Charboneau explains. "Then, what I call the plain country to the confluence of the Arkansas river, there's a lot of French influence—St. Louis—Italian influence. Of course, you go to Memphis—Beale Street to the Bayou—and the different people who settled along the river."

"Rivers were the original highways of America," Charboneau continues. "So many of these towns were influenced by the different people who came and built America. My food is definitely inspired by the river and places along the river."

KY Humanities will host Recipes from the River on Saturday, September 17th, at 10 am at the Paducah Convention and Expo Center. Along with Regina Charboneau, John Varanese (Louisville, KY), Paul Signa (Paducah, KY), and Phillip Ashley Rix (Memphis, TN) will demonstrate their favorite river recipes and tell stories.

Discussions amongst the chefs will be followed by access to a tasting arena where attendees will get to sample food items that were demonstrated and purchase culinary-related items from each chef.

The event is free and open to the public. You can register online by visiting the KY Humanities Eventbrite page. For more information about Kentucky Humanities, visit its website.

Austin Carter is a Murray State grad and has been involved with WKMS since he was in high school. Over the years he has been a producer for WKMS and has hosted several music shows, but now calls Morning Edition his home each weekday morning.
Melanie Davis-McAfee graduated from Murray State University in 2018 with a BA in Music Business. She has been working for WKMS as a Music and Operations Assistant since 2017. Melanie hosts the late-night alternative show Alien Lanes, Fridays at 11 pm with co-host Tim Peyton. She also produces Rick Nance's Kitchen Sink and Datebook and writes Sounds Good stories for the web.
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