Explore the culinary stories from our workshops in Kensington and Norris Square

Cooking, like storytelling, can be used as a means of passing down history and culture from one generation to another. By continuing the traditions of our ancestors and creating culinary connections with other communities, we are able to express the history of those who came before us while making new stories along the way.

This was the theme of our fall storytelling workshops, where a dozen or so community members and visitors — from young children to older adults — shared their stories related to food or cooking.

kensington culinary connections
Community members discuss possible culinary moments to write about on Sept. 30, 2021 at Ruth Street Community Garden. (Photo by Erin Blewett)

Kensington Voice and Interfaith Philadelphia facilitated the event as part of Interfaith Philadelphia’s Crafting Community Project “Kensington Grows, Cooks, and Serves.” The community art project is a series of online and in-person events exploring food systems and growing cross-cultural and interfaith connections in the neighborhood. Philly Unknown Project’s Ruth Street Community Garden hosted the first workshop on Sept. 30. The garden was decorated with pumpkins, murals, and raised garden beds. The second workshop on Oct. 2 took place in Norris Square Neighborhood Project’s Las Parcelas Community Garden, which is known for its celebration of Puerto Rican culture and fresh, home-grown food.

Each workshop included three stations where participants were guided through the storytelling process. At the audio station, people shared stories about their food-centered traditions while talking into a microphone, like a podcast. At the collage-making station, several people cut out photos from food magazines and creatively glued them onto construction paper. At the writing station, participants wrote down short stories related to food and family. A local food resources guide was distributed as well. 

« of 10 »

Below are the culinary stories and collages that were created during the two workshops.

To attend upcoming events in the neighborhood, check out the Kensington Voice Events Calendar. Stay up to date on Kensington news, conversations, and more by following us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

Audio station

kensington culinary connections
A microphone and laptop set up for the audio station of the workshop at Ruth Street Community Garden. (Photo by Erin Blewett)

Carmen Laureano, Elba Lopez, and Kalú Fermandois (Kensington Voice translator) at Las Parcelas Community Garden


Jeremiah Montalvo at Las Parcelas Community Garden


Jim “Bear” Katona at Ruth Street Community Garden


Kalú Fermandois (Kensington Voice translator) at Las Parcelas Community Garden 


Stephen Hovanec at Ruth Street Community Garden


Parker Loesch at Las Parcelas Community Garden


Collage-making station 

kensington culinary connections
Collage station. (Photo by Erin Blewett)

Angel Rosado at Las Parcelas Community Garden


Britt Carpenter at Ruth Street Community Garden 

“Veggie Collage” by Britt Carpenter.

Elba Lopez at Las Parcelas Community Garden


Kalú Fermandois (Kensington Voice translator) at Ruth Street Community Garden

“Christmas dinner table in Chile.”

Mónica Perez (Kensington Voice translator) at Ruth Street Community Garden 

 “Traditional meals from Mexico.”

Parker Loesch at Las Parcelas Community Garden

“Farm to table” by Parker Loesch

Rosalind Pichardo at Ruth Street Community Garden

Pichardo said she’s been eating avocados more recently and sometimes she likes having a glass of wine.

Stephen Hovanec at Ruth Street Community Garden

“A balanced diet can allow you to build a stable foundation of health so you can glide through life.”

Writing station

kensington culinary connections
Writing station. (Photo by Erin Blewett)

Angel Rosado at Las Parcelas Community Garden

Nosotros los hispanos hacemos reuniones familiares. Es una festividad donde todos los miembros de la familia participan. Escogen un lugar de preferencia y llevan todo tipo de alimentos.

Nunca falta la comida típica que por tradición es arroz con gandules y lechón asado. Por lo regular escogen un parque o un lugar con piscinas. 

Se toman muchas fotos como memorias y luego se comparten. Se hacen juegos. Se pone música y bailan. También les gusta tener camisetas imprimidas con el nombre, “Family Reunion”. 

Jeremiah Montalvo at Las Parcelas Community Garden

I like eating arepas with the spicy green sauce. La Caleñita is where I go to get arepas with my mom. We go to 5th Street. 

I also like the beef empanadas at La Caleñita. The first time I ate those empanadas, I finished them in two bites. 

Mónica Perez (Kensington Voice translator) at Ruth Street Community Garden

Mis memorias de las comidas familiares

En nuestra cultura mexicana, tenemos muchos días especiales para celebrar en todo el año, iniciando desde 6 de enero que celebramos el día de los Reyes Magos y de ahí comienzan las celebraciones, se parte una rosca de pan llamada (Rosca de Reyes). Las personas que participan en ello y cortan un pedazo de pan y sale un muñequito dentro de ella les toca preparar los tamales que es la tradición para el día 2 de febrero, día de la candelaria, etc. (dia de las madres, dia de los papas, fiestas patronales, navidad y año nuevo entre otras). Y así cada mes siempre hay alguna época especial para celebrar. Pero en mi familia cada domingo es como tener una celebración ya que mi abuela materna, mis tías y mi mamá siempre llevaban un platillo. Cada domingo era como tener una fiesta e incluso al terminar siempre sobra comida en la que todos comparten y llevan todos para el recalentado.

Las comidas tradicionales son muy extensas pero las principales que mi abuela preparaba eran tamales. Era algo muy común entre nuestras celebraciones ya que es algo práctico, rendidor y económico y mi abuela siempre preparaba vaporeras grandes y siempre preparaba de diferentes guisos de pollo o cerdo, rojos o verdes incluso algunos solo de vegetales y queso. También preparaba dulces de piña, naranja etc.

Ahora entiendo, que tan importante es siempre poner atención y aprender lo que más uno pueda de las experiencias y aprendizajes de las personas mayores, ya que ellos no tenían acceso a la tecnología o manuales pero estas deliciosas recetas siempre estaban frescas en su memoria.

Recuerdo que mi abuela no nos dejaba que le ayudaramos. Yo le pregunte algunas ocasiones “abuelita le ayudo” ella me decía “NO dejame ahi”, que porque decía que incluso la temperatura de la mano era importante tenía que ver al momento de jugar con la masa y al momento de meterlos a cocinar que debían ser por capas poco a poco, que ese era el secreto para que no quedaran aplastados y todos quedaran esponjosos.

En mi comunidad, tenemos muchos platos tradicionales pero los tamales, el pozole o el mole, enchiladas y tacos con diferentes tipos de salsas etc. siempre me recordaran a mi abuelita porque aunque yo los prepare o pruebe los platillos que alguien más hizo nunca llegan a tener ese sabor exquisito y delicioso que siempre distinguió su comida y que cuando uno probaba no podíamos resistirnos a pedir otro más.

Empecé cocinando por necesidad, ahora disfruto preparando comida y me encanta ver cuando mi familia o las personas que la llegan a probar les agrada. Es un placer poder aprender y compartir experiencias culinarias.


Darryl Thomas from Norris Square

Sunday Dinner at Grandma’s

When I was young, Sunday was a day of gathering and worship. Most Sundays consisted of two main agendas: church and Sunday dinner. Sunday morning, we were up early. We bathed, got dressed in our Sunday best, and off we went to church. This day could sometimes start as early as 7:30 a.m. When we arrived at the church, the kids went to Sunday school and the adults went to bible study. While we were in church, dinner was slowly simmering on the stove and slow cooking in the oven. One of my aunts usually stayed home to make sure everything turned out right. On most occasions, we went to the Sunday sermon after Sunday school and bible study. The service would begin at 11 a.m. or noon and lasted well into the afternoon. After the sermon, we said our goodbyes and then headed home.

When we arrived, everyone got partially undressed and watched football on a black and white TV. There were not too many color TVs in households yet, and we had not yet bought one. The Baltimore Colts was the home team everyone rooted for, and we were proud to have them as such.

As we sat around the dining room table, where almost all the family would fit, we first blessed the food. Afterwards, dinner was served. These were some of the best meals I had ever eaten: fried chicken, baked ham, topped with pineapples, greens, corn on the cob, and mashed or baked potatoes. We washed it all down with iced tea. What a meal! With the holidays coming up, memories like these come to mind, and I cherish them.

The time spent with family and friends was always unforgettable. So, enjoy your holidays, stay safe and make the best of this holiday season.


Editors: Zari Tarazona, Siani Colón, Henry Savage / Designer: Henry Savage

What did you think about this story? Send a note to editors@kensingtonvoice.com, and we’ll consider publishing it in our Voices section. You can also tell us what you think in person at our neighborhood events.

Total
83
Shares
Related Posts