Feeding Community begins with a simple question: how does food serve to strengthen identity?
A simple temporary exhibit couldn’t do justice to such a rich and deliciously complex topic, and so, the Jewish Museum and Archives of BC (JMABC) will delve into this topic through a range of media over the course of the next two years. Through this process, we hope to better understand the complex connections between food and identity, with a central focus on the lived stories embedded in the act of preparing and consuming food, and the ways history is passed from one generation to the next through the preparing and sharing of food.
One of these platforms will be a podcast series comprised of interviews with members of our community. As we develop this series, we are interested in teasing out secrets, narratives, myths and misconceptions around Jewish recipes to better understand how food has adapted throughout migratory experiences while retaining the significance of its ritual meaning.
Our goal is to interview members of the community who are willing to talk through their recipes and share cooking processes with us so that we can create a podcast series full of multiple perspectives. This, we hope, will provide many opportunities for listeners to reflect on their own history and join in a community-wide conversation.
Another goal is to compile an accessible online cookbook. This resource will detail not only the variety of methods and ingredients, but also the diverse stories that accompany how such processes came to be passed down, adapted, and exchanged. We envision this project continuing to live on well past the Feeding Community project, with the desire that our investigation will be archived, shared and engaged with well into the future. Other components to the project will likely include public programming events that invite the larger community to participate in cook-offs, talks and discussions.
Two team members have joined the JMABC this summer to help us undertake this project. April Thompson is a Masters student at the University of British Columbia, where she is studying Critical and Curatorial Studies. Her experience lies in facilitating and curating contemporary art based exhibitions and engaging in work with local non-profit arts organizations such as SADMag and the Contemporary Art Gallery. Alisa Lazear is a graduate student with a passion for information science, and community building. This is reflected in her current studies in the Master of Library and Information Studies program at the University of British Columbia and her involvement in community organizations such as Moishe House and the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver.