Stories of Food, Food as Story
In this workshop series, we explore our history and cultural heritage through food traditions.
We tell stories through the food we grow, prepare and preserve. Our foodways express essential aspects of the human experience and share who we are and what matters most to our families and communities. This workshop is an opportunity to learn about your family or community through food, document and share an important food tradition, and build community through the process.
Explore our own histories and cultural heritage through our food traditions.
- Identify a food tradition through which participants can learn about their history or culture
- Conduct an oral history interview(s) to document the tradition
- Use interview transcripts and memorabilia as source material inspiration for a creative product
What to expect
We explore food traditions in this workshop as a way to learn about ourselves, our families and our communities, and as an opportunity to connect across difference. Our food traditions express our cultural identities and can help us explore where our story fits within a larger social, cultural and political context. Using a folklore lens, participants identify what they most want to understand about their own history from a particular food tradition, and from whom, and craft their own oral history project. As a cohort, we practice listening and interview skills, consider how to spark memories and make a meaningful connections, learn recording techniques and technology, and explore ethical considerations of recording other peoples’ stories. Participants then choose one more more "creative branches" and produce creative projects that share these true stories in ways that will resonate with an audience. Through supportive and constructive workshop discussions, participants hone their ears in finding the "voice" of their story and explore different paths a story can take.
Creative products and foodways programming
We designed the 2023 offering in collaboration with three local teaching artists. Ten community members participated in our pilot series, ranging in age from early 20s to 70s and from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds. Each session included a meal that highlighted a local food tradition and was held at spaces in our community with special significance to supporting local cultural heritage. The creative branches of our 2023 cohort workshop were creative non-fiction and visual journal. The series culminated in a group zine featuring journaling work from each participant and short works of creative nonfiction. Our final session was a potluck where participants were encouraged to bring a food item to share that connected with their project. Cohort members shared their creative products and reflected on the process through Playback Theatre with Brave Practice. Participants had the opportunity to share their work as part of a group show during Olympia Spring Arts Walk, 2023.
We look forward to the many creative ways we'll continue to grow this offering and engage in community with these stories.