Using pictures to tell stories, Flossmoor launches social media campaign

Maureen Mader, owner of Dunning’s Market in Flossmoor, learned to make pasta from her grandmother. She believes food is the common thread that connects us all, and that the great story of our lives is best told in the kitchen. 
Tina Coleman diplays her pasta dough at the Dunning's Market cooking class. (Danielle Maya Banks/H-F Chronicle)
  Tina Coleman diplays her
  pasta dough at the Dunning's
  Market cooking class.
 
 (Photos by Danielle Maya Banks/
  H-F Chronicle)
 

Mader envisioned a way for local customers to tell these stories. She hosts cooking classes at Dunning’s. 

“The story behind the Italian food I make is that my grandma taught us,” she said. “Of course, every time I make that dough I’m emotional. I think of my grandma, my mom, Christmas, Easter. This is what we are trying to offer customers when they come in for a cooking class. There is so much passion in food."

Dunning's owner Maureen Mader replicates her grandmother's pizza dough during a recent cooking class. (Danielle Maya Banks/H-F Chronicle)
  Dunning's owner Maureen Mader
  replicates her grandmother's
  pizza dough during a recent
  cooking class.

 

Photos of the cooking class at Dunning’s can be found on Instagram, under #Flossmoor365, the social media campaign launched by the Village of Flossmoor in January. The hashtag tells the unique stories of Flossmoor life, in photographs. 

Amy Kent, Flossmoor’s communications manager, says the photos customers posted from the class at Dunning’s are exactly the type of local activity the campaign aims to spotlight.

Members of the Dunning's cooking class celebrate with a meal of what they learned to create in the kitchen. Tins Coleman is at the center with, left to right Joan Walker, Tony DeSantis, Laura Baltuska, Phil DeSantis, Anne DeSantis, Samantha Revels, Rob Revels, Puma Tannehill and Brenda Tannehill. (Danielle Maya Banks/H-F Chronicle)
  Members of the Dunning's
  cooking class celebrate with
  a meal of what they learned
  to create in the kitchen. Tina
  Coleman is at the center with,
  left to right, Joan Walker,
  Tony DeSantis, Laura Baltuska,
  Phil DeSantis, Anne DeSantis,
  Samantha Revels, Rob Revels,
  Puma Tannehill and Brenda
  Tannehill.

 

“#Flossmoor365 allows us to recognize the unique opportunities we have here” Kent said. “I’m sure there are plenty of cooking classes in the city, but Flossmoor residents don’t have to leave the community. We can go down the street to Dunning’s and take a class with family and friends. Who would have thought?”

Flossmoor resident Laura Baltuska shares Kent’s appreciation for the local “gem” that Dunning’s cooking classes are turning out to be. 
 

“The class at Dunning’s was very different than the Italian cooking class I took in the city,” Baltuska said. “I walked away with a greater sense of community and appreciation for all the work that goes into the food at Dunning’s. The products I’m buying, my love for the food; the class deepened all of that.
 
“That’s because the class was local, but also because we layered the lasagna with a little bit of dough that each of us made.”
 
#Flossmoor365 was born out of the village’s vision to start a conversation, and Mader mirrors that vision. She says the cooking classes will ultimately create a space for customers to share their heritage, and build otherwise unlikely friendships. 
 
“These cooking classes are a way to bridge gaps in the community,” the restaurant owner and instructor says. “Food is a universal language. Everyone has a story, an important recipe that brings family together. In my vision for the classes, everyone sits down to eat while the cook shares their story. We are building relationships based on deliciousness.”
 
Kent encourages residents to stop and savor life’s sweet moments, no matter how small. She says photography is the perfect way to slow things down when life becomes all too routine, and hash-tagging ‘Flossmoor365’ places the photos into the larger conversation about community.
 
“Life moves quickly,” Kent said. “Sometimes we forget to appreciate the small things. The campaign gives people the opportunity to capture moments with photography, and then place them in a category with other captured moments. To share our lives.”


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