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The ingredient of space: Reflections on diasporic dining practices

1:30 PM, Thursday 26 May 2022 (20 minutes)

Food offers a means of examining spatial stories of migration. As a set of heritage activities, the preparation, storage, and consumption of food offer multisensorial and evocative ways of exploring cultural identity and a sense of belonging, particularly for members of diasporic communities. Immigrants and their descendants often have to modify traditional recipes and make do with different domestic technologies and spatial configurations. They become everyday designers, active agents in the creation of cultural products and interior spaces. Food heritage can help to create a sense of emplacement and, as Elizabeth Cromley reminds us in her work on American domestic architecture, the “food axis”—the spaces associated with food storage, preparation, and consumption—is essential to the evolution and, by extension, meaning of home.

With this in mind, this paper will discuss insights gleaned from a collaborative, interdisciplinary research project involving Ingenium: Canada’s Museums of Science and Innovation, Algonquin College, Carleton University and members of communities who trace their heritage to Anatolia (the geographical region of present-day Turkey). It will consider how everyday ‘foodscapes,’ spaces and cultural landscapes associated with the creation and consumption of food, can offer a way of thinking through narratives about the designed environment in Canada. It will also reflect on dissemination activities of the project—a memory-collage cookbook and website with resources—to illuminate different ways of reaching audiences while amplifying the significance of quotidian heritage activities. Ultimately, the paper holds that food offers a particularly rich lens through which to reconsider narratives of the designed environment in Canada and its entanglement with stories of migration.

Carleton University
Associate Professor
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