When Food Gets Political...
Food is a language we all share, no matter where we come from or when we got here.
What we think of as "American food" is a rich testament to the contributions of the millions of people, past and present, who have come from afar to start again in the United States. Migration and multiculturalism have always shaped the way we eat, and The RePast Project celebrates the culinary heritage of people with diverse backgrounds and complex identities with the intention of forging connections and cultivating empathy.
By featuring the culinary traditions of people with a multitude of origins, I aim to provide a platform for sharing the experiences of different people, not to act as the authority about them. My intention is to present foods and traditions as they are seen and experienced through the eyes of the people who claim ownership of them. It's very important to me that, in featuring migrant and immigrant stories and profiling the foods of sometimes marginalized populations, we do not other them, fetishize, or exoticize their food, or profit unjustly from doing so.
Producing, purchasing, preparing, eating, and writing about food are often political acts. I'm very aware of the risk of unintentionally offending readers by stories and foods that don’t come from my own cultural background, and I will do my best to stay vigilant. I don't doubt that, at times, I will make honest mistakes and fall down on the job, and, in those times, I ask for your patience and understanding. I love food, culture, and history because I love people, and I strongly believe that all voices must have room in the conversation.
Please, dear readers, don't hesitate to contact me with reactions, concerns, and feedback. I invite respectful, constructive comments and welcome civil dialogue around sticky, painful, and awkward issues. That is, in part, what The RePast Project is for.