The Western North Carolina Historical Association (WNCHA) presents an afternoon of stories, music and food from local author, musician and chef Susi Gott Séguret on Saturday, March 2, at 2 p.m. at the Reuter Center at UNC-Asheville. The event follows the release on Tuesday, February 26, of Séguret’s book Child of the Woods: An Appalachian Odyssey, a collection of essays about growing up in Madison County in the 1960s.
“Child of the Woods is a treatise to the sense of wonder that gripped me as a child,” Séguret says, “a journey for the reader into the magic of the woods, all senses on the alert. In the fifty-some odd years that have elapsed since I first wandered forth alone, my awe at entering the woods has only magnified. There is nowhere I feel safer, nowhere more at home.”
Séguret lived for more than 20 years in France, where she earned a diploma in Gastronomy and Taste from the Cordon Bleu and the Université de Reims. Since 2005, she has been director of the Seasonal School of Culinary Arts in Asheville. The school offers week-long hands-on immersion in the culinary arts with chefs and beverage professionals who pass on skills, recipes and culinary tips. Encouraging home chefs of all ages “to gather food consciously, treat it with skill and respect and share it with passion” is the school’s mission.
The author of Appalachian Appetite, Séguret has also written extensively on a variety of culinary ventures for publications and has edited more than a dozen cookbooks.
“It is my fervent hope that, even if the reader’s life is vastly different from these tales of direct contact with nature and some of the spicier details of life, he or she might travel with me through these pages and know the magic of the woods through vicarious immersion,”Séguret says.
To showcase the people, arts and culture of Western North Carolina, WNCHA has several other springtime events planned, including a screening of a documentary produced by a NC filmmaker, an English Country Dance at the Smith-McDowell House with a workshop and demonstration, and the return of the monthly old-time jam series. In April, an exhibit on the history and traditions of tea, Infused in History, opens and will include lectures, parties and other activities.
To learn more about the Western North Carolina Historical Association, visit WNCHistory.org. The Reuter Center is located at One University Heights on the UNCA campus. WNCHA members are admitted free, with a $5 donation requested for nonmembers.