In the summer of 2016, I began working with the Jewish Museum and Archives of BC on their project, The Kitchen Stories. 12 months, 17 interviews, three feasts, and 7 episodes later, it is difficult to describe how much I have learned, and even harder to pin-down the leads I continue chasing.
Creating a podcast has enabled an intimate yet informal approach to capturing vivid memories and unpredictable stories held within personal histories. Members of Vancouver’s Jewish community have stashed these stories away for years in a place somewhat akin to a pantry; right there, beside the staple ingredients and your mother’s tea cups, waiting to be brought out and mixed into a delicious re-telling.
As far as recipes go, this podcast has been made up of equal ingredients planning countered by impromptu insights and meandering revelations. In a very broad way, we set out with some rudimentary goals; to parse out the ties that keep identity and culture in place through the food we eat. Everything else was fair game, there were no taboo subjects.
Who knew that asking people to talk about food would elicit reflections on ethics, existential meaning, family feuds, reality TV cook-offs, sibling rivalry or the antiquated means of checking a newlywed’s virginity (you will want to tune in to our gender episode to hear about this one, Hint: it includes the blood of a chicken).
As this project grows and develops, we hope you will be inspired to connect with us, as listeners and participants, to contribute more stories and perspectives. We want to discover the routes less travelled, the foods that are a little bit strange or embarrassing. We want to leave no scone un-turned. So have a listen, have a think, get in touch. Unlike Challah, there is no limit to how far this project can expand.
April Thompson is the series producer of The Kitchen Stories, a podcast series produced by the JMABC