The University of Memphis Department of Health Studies partnered with Church Health Nov. 14 at the Crosstown Concourse to discuss Healthy Conversations in the kitchen to raise awareness about maintaining a proper diet.

Healthy Conversation consists of multiple events hosted each semester by the Department of Health Studies in hopes of involving not only students and faculty but members of the community as well. The event explored the wonders of healthy fall recipes made with natural ingredients such as apples, squash, acorn sausages, etc.

Tracy Shipp, marketing and communications manager of the health and studies department at the UofM, organized the event along with faculty. Shipp said having a healthy conversation is important and how they aimed to expand their events by establishing relationships through food and discussions.

“We been hosting this event for a couple of years, and it’s amazing to see how it evolve,” Shipp said. We’re trying to expand our offerings because here at the school, we have over 100 faculty and staff members who are doing a lot of amazing things. We use Healthy Conversation as an outlet to demonstrate to everyone what’s going on here.”

The purpose of the event is to inform those on ways to eat healthy while enjoying each other company by conversing into topics based upon their interests.    

Dr. Fedoria Rugless research assistant professor, director of research at Church Health, served as the liaison between the UofM faculty, students and Church Health. Rugless said the event is important to the greater Memphis community and why Memphians should take advantage of these discussions.

“Well, one, they become aware of all the opportunities that are presented and available for them, and they also get to learn,” Rugless said. “This is a teaching environment. We teach culinary skills, how to properly prepare various food, and introduce participants to healthier food options. A lot of ways we fight a lot of diseases is through dieting and lifestyle changes. This event provides them with the opportunity to see that.”

Grace Baker, a journalism major at the University of Memphis, was introduced to Healthy Conversation through her food writing professor Pamela Denney. Baker also said it is important for everyone to take advantage of this.

“Everyone needs to know how to cook healthy food, and they are teaching us more healthy things to cook instead of just eating fast food,” Baker said. “It’s helpful to have someone who knows what they’re showing you so that you won’t go in there blindly by yourself. I like this because I really don’t know how to cook very well and this is helpful for me. I need to learn how to cook.”

Orrin Cooper, Faculty at the University of Memphis Fogelman College of Business, discussed his impressions of the event and why people need to know how to cook.

“Our entire group was joking about how long some of the food took, and to me, it was just a reminder of the art of cooking,” Cooper said. “Sometimes we will come home and just cook spaghetti, but just smelling the food tonight, especially the Rosemary, was like oh my god. This is why good food tastes good.”

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