Recipes: Identity, Culture and Memory

Oral History: Recipe-Memories, an original commission for Artspace for the Reading Room of CT (un)Bound, began with thoughts on our early experiences of the cookbook and our collections of family recipes.

In Fitzsimmons’ case it was a cardboard box salvaged from some gift, that her mother filled with a random selection of clipped recipes. For Criscola, the facial expressions of women winning bake-off prize money in her mother’s 1950’s cookbooks has been the impetus for a few projects where family secrets and financial gain are traded.

Like all traditions the narrative evolves. As in the making of art, a recipe is subject to change. The kitchen also evolves with new technology. Today we search and discover new food creations with a web browser. We may start with the name of a favorite dish, or seasonal ingredient, and measure what we find against the “formulas” we have embedded in our experience. This unbound collection explores the recipe as oral history, tracing personal histories through memory, geography, and technology, as they wended their way to Connecticut—a cross-pollination—via the gustatory, that reflects the cultural mix of our state and the larger country.

The work invites you, the viewer, to participate on multiple levels. Please feel free to rife through the contents, perhaps searching for that perfect recipe. In doing so you will encounter QR codes that may be scanned to locate the origins and travels of the dishes along with accompanying stories and images.

You are also invited to be contrributors to this ongoing project by uploading your recipes, images, and stories to our website in late 2015.