ClayOven was born in 2010 as an idea in response to the residents of the YMCA – which itself sits to the South of the two estates – most residents are still unable to cook their own meals and many talk freely of this as separating them off from being able to be connect to that deeper cultural part of themselves which is signified by the making and sharing of food. Residents at the Y now volunteer in their excellent cafe helping to cook food for each other.

Launched at a community organised event, residents decided that they needed ClayOven to be mobile so it can remain safe and unattractive to bored teenagers, this extraordinary ‘gift’ to the community was made by many local families and has now been well and truly understood as valuable, creative and a powerful connector; it is used at every public community event where food is on the agenda!

It was also at the heart of the various ‘cook and eat’ sessions. The project invited families to share the cooking of a simple culturally-specific meal together in each other’s homes as another facet of this dialogue – we called this ‘Eat-Ins’ and they ran alongside ‘Eat-Outs’ where the community cooked and ate together in the open air. This continued to inform the cookbook that documented the building of the ClayOven and the ritual of food within the everyday, within evolving personal / community identities.

This whole project was inspired by Sister Corita whose community cafe ran alongside the print workshop that provided radical posters during the anti vietnam protests of the 1960’s.

The cookbook is an ongoing and developing resource, any ideas – please do share!

Everyone can add a recipe! Write yours to sharing an image too.

Click on the image below to see the ClayOven cookbook: