What is Hip? Donelson Is



Back in the dark ages before I got this food-writing gig, I used to toil away at fairly mundane job in a stolid cinderblock building in a dull office park in a nondescript neighborhood near Donelson. This is to say, there was nothing "hip" about the place. But since I've left, Donelson has definitely turned up the cool meter.

One example of what they are doing to turn this bedroom community and bastion of airport hotels into a real community is the establishment of the Hip Donelson Farmers Market which sets up at the Fifty Forward property at 108 Donelson Pike from 4 to 7 p.m. every Friday from May until October. Scenester Elizabeth Jones (who makes all of our prose look better by distracting y'all with her award-winning graphic design) first told us here at Bites about the market last summer.

Since then, the roster of farmers and purveyors has expanded even further to include some old favorites as well as names I don't know that I've seen before at the other markets I visit around town. There's even a guy giving chair massages for $1 a minute to work out all the stress that the workweek may have deposited in your shoulders. Talk about a happy hour!

Another fun feature is that the market sponsors cooking demonstrations throughout the hours that they are open. Locals share recipes and create dishes showcasing ingredients that can be found at the Hip Donelson Market, so visitors can go home with the instructions and ingredients to recreate the dish at home. Plus, did I mention free samples?!

In what might prove to be a questionable decision, they have asked me to do the demo this Friday, Aug. 2, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. I'll be re-creating a recipe out my book, The Southern Foodie, so I can guarantee you that it will be good. The reason that I'm so certain is that the recipe for the Watermelon and Tomato Salad that I am preparing comes from one of my favorite Southern chefs ever, Bill Smith of Crook's Corner in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Another source of confidence is the fact that since this salad is best served really cold, I'll actually be making the samples that I feed y'all at home in my own kitchen and not having to depend on the camp stoves of the demo space. I have nothing but admiration for chefs that can cook under time pressure in makeshift kitchens, but I sure do prefer the comfort of my own house when I have to cook for 200 people.

So come to the Hip Donelson Market this Friday and do some shopping for the weekend. You'll have at least two opportunities to watch me attempt to not cut my fingers off and enjoy a nice sample of a great recipe. Hecklers are welcome, but not anonymous comment trolls. 8^) I hope to put some Bites commenter's faces to names and aliases, so make sure to introduce yourself.

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