How this Started
“Do you have plans Friday night? I’ll pick you up for a date at 5:00.”
I had known Craig long enough to trust him, even if that sounded like an early night. He picked me up, and drove to the Edison Social Club, a usually-vacant dining hall on the outskirts of town. That night it was full, and the line for dinner curved through the bar.
We sat at plastic tables, with salad and chicken noodle soup served family style, and bierocks piled between us. It was a humble meal, really, with a long history, and with personal meaning for Craig: the bierocks, he explained, were a staple amongst his Volga German ancestors. Craig is maybe 25 years my senior, in his mid-50s at the time, and still a generation younger than the average dinner guest that night. We surveyed the room, and asked each other who carries this tradition forward. Who preserves the knowledge and traditions of making the bierocks?
That question lingered for weeks, and sparked a desire to connect to food histories that existed before microwaves and fast food – before food became lost in convenience. Not to say those things don’t offer merit, but they’re…homogenized…and intentionally lacking discernible, unique cultural attributes. So I started exploring recipes and traditions that are filled with such attributes, in the kitchens of friends and neighbors.
The project has evolved over the years, and now focuses on documenting the interactions between generations, as small family histories are passed down.