Project Stir: Local woman making it her mission to rekindle the family recipe

Sarah Shotts, ProjectSTIR, cropped

Guest post by Sarah Shotts

Remember that dish your grandmother or great-aunt made that no one else could? We all have memories tied to the food of our childhoods. Stories from the family kitchen. Friendships forged by sharing handwritten recipe cards.

Project STIR is a mission to rekindle the family recipe. So often in our busy lives, we fail to take the time to slow down and remember these recipes. To pass them on to the next generation.

I never knew my own grandmothers, but I was blessed to grow up with Mamaw’s chicken dumplins every February at our home gymnastics meet. Mamaw was my gymnastics coach’s mother, but we all called her Mamaw as if she was our own grandma.

When I was getting married I knew two things… I wanted to wear matching green converse shoes and I wanted Mamaw to make her chicken dumplins.

It had been years since I’d had Mamaw’s dumplins and sharing them with my new husband stirred up all kinds of warm and fuzzy feelings for me. I knew I had to learn how to make them.

But this wasn’t a recipe that could be written down.

You know the kind… a pinch of this, a dash of that, kneading the dough until it becomes “just right.”

Because of this no one in Mamaw’s family knew how to make her famous dumplins. This was a little over a year ago and I was just beginning to explore freelance cinematography so I asked her granddaughter Rachel if she’d like to be in an heirloom recipe film learning how to make dumplins from Mamaw. She said yes.

When I started sharing that film I found that it really resonated with people. Stories of recipes from all over the world started pouring in. Families invited me to document their family recipes in countries like Wales, Turkey, Canada, Panama, Croatia… and that’s how Project STIR was born.

Project STIR recently launched on Kickstarter to fund a series of heirloom recipe films taking place in kitchens around the world. Click here to learn more about how to get involved.

You can also join the Project STIR Facebook community to share your own family recipe stories.

Lets rekindle the heirloom recipe together.

Sarah Shotts, headshotSarah Shotts is a visual storyteller based in Northwest Arkansas. She earned a bachelor’s degree in performing arts at Mississippi University for Women. She continued her studies abroad, earning a master’s degree in applied drama from Goldsmiths University of London. Sarah is passionate about grand adventures and capturing the micro-adventures in the everyday. She blogs at She recently launched a kickstarter campaign called Project STIR. Project STIR is a culmination of Sarah’s passions for food, family and adventure.


  1. I never get tired of the story or watching the video! It’s such a fundamental, feel good, yummy memory provoking project! I am totally in love with it! ♡

  2. Nancy, I couldn’t agree more! I can’t understand why all my friends aren’t as excited about it as I am! 🙂 I think I’m not selling it right. If they take the time to watch the first video, they will be hooked like I am. Who can resist such a warm story of family connection? I also love Sarah’s back story of how she knows Mamaw and came to want to make this film in the first place.

    Thanks for Project STIR, Sarah, and inviting us to be a part.

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