remember your grandmother's cooking?

 Your kids won't, unless you do something about it. 


Food tells our stories. It highlights important events, evokes memories, and helps us create new ones. It’s the glue that connects us to our families, our communities, our traditions, and our past. It’s a bridge that helps us find common ground with others.

The RePast Project strives to keep the culinary traditions of the past relevant in the present. It explores how food feeds our sense of who we are and connects us to ourselves, others, the past, and the world around us.

Many of us are among the first in our families to have to choose: either find ways to keep our family's culture alive for future generations, or let it recede into the past as we keep barreling toward the future.

By remembering, reviving, and reinterpreting the flavors and recipes we inherit from our ancestors we perpetuate age-old traditions, find ways to make them relevant to our modern lives, and maintain our connection to generations past and future. 

I sincerely hope you enjoy. 

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Why RePast?


(prefix meaning again or anew) 


 (adjective or noun referring to time gone by)


(noun meaning feast or meal)


Emily Halpern



As a kid, I ate things no one else did: steak tartare, puffy omelets slathered with jam, heart-attack inducing casseroles of eggs, potatoes, and bubbly sour cream, raspberry pudding with milk.

Over lunches of German cold-cuts and hearty Hungarian dinners, my immigrant grandparents told wistful stories about wonderful dark bread, tiny shops that sold only strudel, and cafes with sweets so special, they sounded too good to be true.

Both sets of my grandparents were Jewish refugees who escaped Europe on the eve of World War II. They arrived in New York in the nick of time, but the relatives they left behind perished in the Holocaust, along with all the stories and knowledge about the their families' history. Wanting to forget their painful pasts, my grandparents hardly ever spoke of life before immigration, and the language of their childhoods never again passed their lips.

Only their food remained—these days, it’s the only living link I have left to their culture, and it's in their food that I find the strongest connection to my roots. 

Perhaps because my grandparents tried so hard to forget, I’ve spent my life preoccupied with remembering. I've spent years immersed in the study of food and memory, and the ways in which culture conveys stories and identity through generations. 

I created The RePast Project to celebrate and explore the ways food helps us remember who we are, where we come from, and what we have in common with one another. 

If you’d like to learn more about me and my work, head over to, check out my writing about heritage, memory, and identity, find me on LinkedIn, or just get in touch!

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EMILY HALPERN is dedicated to helping people understand the roles that culture, heritage, and memory play in shaping our personal and public narratives, our communities, and our organizations. As the grandchild of Holocaust survivors and refugees, Emily grew up outside of NYC eating foods like German Wurst and Hungarian palacsinta. Her connection to her family’s history, her curiosity about other cultures, and her fascination with food’s capacity to house our memories and convey stories led her to create The RePast Project. Emily’s career in food has included working as Alice Waters' assistant, cooking at Ron Ben Israel Cakes and Chez Panisse, writing for Food & Wine Magazine and Saveur, and working as marketing manager for Di Palo's of Little Italy. She has consulted on projects for The Astor Center, Italian Wine Merchants, LA Amarilla de Ronda, Colangelo PR, and Leite's Culinaria, among others. She also caters desserts for small parties and weddings, and her cupcakes have been in The New York Times.  Emily is a CTI Certified coach, and a member of the International Coach Federation. She received an MA in Food Culture and Communications from The University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy, a Grand Diplôme from The French Culinary Institute (now the International Culinary Center), and an MA in Cultural Memory from the University of London. Beyond her work in food, Emily works as a communications consultant and coach, helping people express themselves, package their ideas, and get their work out into the world. Emily is also a classical soprano and has performed a soloist with the New York Philharmonic. She earned her BA in music from Barnard College of Columbia University. A native New Yorker, Emily lives in Brooklyn and happily gobbles up all the delicious food the city has to offer.