What We Feed Ourselves is a multimedia project project on food, culture, and acculturation. With the help of four grant partners (the Minnesota State Arts Board, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, City of Minneapolis Government, and the Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Corporation), Cori spent the last year interviewing five immigrant restaurant owners and illustrating their food–the food they cook for others and the food they cook for themselves. I (Jami) helped by editing food essays from five writers from the same cultures. We attempt to investigate and interrogate the ways food changes based on the path it takes, based on whose tastes (and spice tolerances!) we are entertaining, and based on who is controlling the narrative and translation.
The accompanying booklet is divided into five sections, each reflecting on a different cultural cuisine. Each section consists of 1) an illustrated feature of a Lake Street restaurant accompanied by an interview with the owner, 2) an essay from a local writer, reflecting on their food experience, and 3) an illustration of a homefood. (For the purposes of this book, we define loosely define homefood as food you grew up with–food that reminds you of home and feeds your spirit.) We chose to juxtapose the stories from restaurant owners (food creators) and the writers (food consumers) in order to highlight different perspectives from the same cultural community.
The project is culminating in an event on August 10, 2019. Called Eat & Art on Lake: A Community Meal, this is a ticketed event for over 300 guests (currently sold out!). From the Facebook event:
Spend the evening outside on Moon Palace Book’s courtyard enjoying a diverse menu of items from Moroccan Flavors, Internacional cuisine bar & grill, Taqueria las cuatro milpas, Wiilo Somali Bakery, & Gandhi Mahal Restaurant- Minneapolis MN. Beer & wine will be available from Geek Love Cafe and music will be provided by TaliaKnight.
Join us to learn what these chefs eat and cook at home with their families, see Cori’s watercolor paintings, and read stories about this food from local writers Anniessa Antar, Isela Gomez, Maryan Abdinur, Christian Alberto Ledesma, and Aarohi Narain. (more info on event here)
We are interested in expanding this project and adapting it into a full-color all-ages illustrated book. Let us know if you would like to partner with us!