“I tell my daughters that when I go, they’ll know the good recipes by the dirty pages.” —Kim McKinney

Dirty pages. The cookbook pages ringed with coffee stains, the recipes smudged with chocolate or butter, dusted with flour,  a creased piece of paper or the back of an old envelope, pages wrinkled and folded, the faded careful script of a mother or grandmother. They're the recipes we refer to again and again. But beyond the dishes they help create, these pages hold stories. 

Dirty Pages has been organized by food writers Erin Murray, Jennifer Justus and Cindy Wall, a trio of friends who eat enthusiastically, write passionately, and believe fully in the ways shared stories about food tie us together.

“There is no better place to cook and eat, and tell stories about cooking and eating, than Nashville right now.
Dirty Pages is just a piece of that, but we think it's a tale worth telling. 

Every day, no matter how many great restaurants we have (and we have lots), we turn back again and again
to recipes we love and meals we remember. Whether you grew up here, moved from another city or state,
or crossed a border or ocean to call Nashville home, that's a truth we all share."

Erin Murray • Jennifer Justus • Cindy Wall


In March-April 2015, Dirty Pages debuted at an interactive exhibit featuring 20 Nashville women at the Nashville Farmers' Market and a series of public events at the market and in collaboration with Nashville's Conexión AméricasPart photography and part storytelling, the exhibit told each woman's story by displaying her recipe along with a portrait, and a personal account describing the recipe and where it came from. An opening night dinner featured the talents of eight local chefs, honoring women in their lives who inspired their cooking (with proceeds directed to Conexión Américas and its Mesa Komal commercial kitchen).


In November 2015, the exhibit moved to New Orleans' Southern Food & Beverage Museum where it continues to hang. 


On September 26, 2016, a Dirty Pages exhibit was part of the Celebrate Nashville Cultural Festival's 20th anniversary. Created with the Metro Nashville Human Rights Commission, the exhibit hung for one night only at POP, 604 Gallatin Ave in Nashville. Afterwards, the exhibit moved to Nashville's Casa Azafrán, 2195 Nolensville Pike, where it’s hung on the walls outside the center's Mesa Komal commercial kitchen.


 Stay tuned. Something's cookin'!


"A Mother's Cookbook Shares More Than Recipes"
Kim Severson, The New York Times

"Dirty Pages Share Stories of Food and Love"
Jim Myers, The Tennessean

"Food Writers Kick Off 'Dirty Pages' Project, About Nashville Recipes and Stories"
Chris Chamberlain, Nashville Scene

"Dirty Pages Open to the Good Recipes"
Kathleen Purvis, The Charlotte News & Observer

"Dirty Pages exhibit debuts in Nashville"
Southern Foodways Alliance

"Vui Hunt in Dirty Pages + Other Mother's Day Recipes"
Jennifer Justus, Edible Nashville