Welcome to the Share Your Foodways program! The Arts Institute of Middlesex County has partnered with local chefs to explore the ways in which food, culture, and family histories intersect. Check out this page for DIY tutorials, interviews with our featured chefs, printable recipes, and a window into the rich variety of food traditions in our County!
Each dish has been carefully chosen not only for its simple and accessible ingredients, but also for its personal significance to the cook. These ingredients and recipes will nourish the body, mind, and soul with the stories they hold. Check back throughout the year as we add more tutorials and interviews with featured chefs!
Tag us with #shareyourfoodways as you try out these recipes in your own home, and share your own family’s stories and recipes!
Having trouble viewing the video? Watch it here!
Recipe: Jerome's Jamming Chickpeas and Spinach
Chef: Dayci Chivikula
Recipe: Black Bean Soup
"In my opinion, we had many people dropping by around lunch time because they couldn’t resist the aroma coming out of our apartment’s humble kitchen. The fragrance of the spices engulfed the whole building. It was a stimulus to the senses and an open invitation to a memorable dish."
Chef: Carolina Moratti
Recipe: Carolina's Sensational Corn Salsa
"The amount of happiness you can provide to somebody who likes your food is just… unbelievable! And it has no price on it! So do that! Inspire others by cooking. Explore new flavors, don’t be afraid to mix it up! Because you want to create something amazing!"
Community Cookbooks & Remembering the Departed
Maha Pulomena’s story underscores two very important aspects of foodways: the role cookbooks play in our lives, and the way we use food to remember those who have passed away.
Cookbooks, whether formally published or put together by a local or affiliated group (often called “community cookbooks”), are one of the most important ways that we use to preserve our recipes. Some people learn how to cook entirely from cookbooks, and some people contribute their own family recipes to community cookbooks to share with others. These recipes and the cookbooks that hold them become important family heirlooms, and ways to share the past with new generations.
Recipes don’t have to be invented by a loved one (or even memorized!) for them to be important. During the filming of this tutorial, Maha Pulomena mentioned that she has her favorite recipes from the book, like Mujadarah, memorized, but she will always keep the book itself because it reminds her of her mother and bears her handwritten inscription. She also joked that she is having a hard time deciding which of her children to pass it to, whether her daughter or her son, Matt, who you see in the video.
Favorite recipes are shared not just because they are delicious, but because they have meaning. When we share food with each other, we create meaning. Food provides both physical and psychological comfort, and we remember loved ones through sharing their recipes.
The next time you see a community cookbook, take a look through its pages. Was it put together by a library association? A church or a mosque? An extended family? Imagine the stories told around those recipes, and the families who share them.
What are Foodways?
“Foodways” refers to the cultural, historical, and social context surrounding food. We use food to mark important times in our lives, use specific dishes to celebrate important holidays, and make meaning through sharing food with others.
Access for all
We want to make sure that everyone can enjoy this program to its fullest extent. Thanks to coordinated efforts by MCFOODS, the Middlesex County Food Organization and Outreach Distribution Services, in cooperation with Chef Sank, we are able to supply local food banks with kits that include all the ingredients to make the dishes we’re featuring here. We will provide a limited number of meal kits for each featured video we post. To find a kit in your local area, contact MCFOODS. If you are interested in helping to support your community food banks, learn how to donate here.
This program was also made possible with support from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the Folklife Program for New Jersey, and the Middlesex County Board of County Commissioners.
Enjoy, Bon appétit, Manga, Buen apetito, Bil haná wal shifá, Mànmàn chī, Guten appetite, Kali órexi, B’tayavon, Buon appetite, Douzo meshiagare, Jal meokkesseumnida, Nooshe jan, Afiyet olsun, Ăn nào, Smacznego, Bom apetite, and Es gezunterheyt!