We met Claudia Lucero on 9/9/2011 at the Bipartisan Cafe in Portland. Claudia is the creator of Urban Cheese where she teaches how to make homemade cheese and also sells D.I.Y. cheese making kits. Claudia grew up in San Diego and recounted stories of watching her grandmother cook from scratch. She told us about taking trips across the border with her grandma and sitting around as a little girl observing her grandma and her girlfriends smoke cigarettes, talk, and cook.
Claudia learned a number of recipes from her grandmother but most importantly took her grandmother’s adventurist, trust your gut intuition while cooking spirit. Claudia doesn’t believe too much in measuring when you cook from the heart. She makes her grandmother Sopa de Fideo recipe to remember her by and for nourishment. She likes using star pasta. Thanks Claudia!
Watercolor by Lauren Mirow Blankenship
On 10/29/2011 I recorded Ashley Sullivan talking about food in the Southwest and food in the Pacific Northwest. Ashley is from Seattle and has lived in Texas for four years ( plus ). Ashley is smart about food. She has a natural gift in making something outta nothing. She forages, gardens, knows everything about native plant use and these attributes shine in her kitchen style. Though Ashley has a wide range of food-stuff interests she has been drawn to Jewish foodways as of late.
Ashley said this:
So for some reason I’m really interested in Jewish foodways. And I think part of it is because food is really central to Judaism. Obviously with like kosher laws and sort of the rituals of celebration and you know each holiday has really specific things that you eat. There has to be certain food on the table. And within that Jewish people live all over the world and these religious precepts get interpreted differently with things like the local ingredients. This [recipe] isn’t specifically Jewish but certain ways of preparing it have been thought of as Jewish and those are cabbage rolls. They’re called holishkes in Israel or golubtzi in Russian.
Ashley likes making cabbage rolls because they are pretty tasty and one of her best friends in the whole world is Jewish.
Ashley and the Hansom
On October 14, 2011 Lauren and I met with Melissa Delzio to talk about story collecting in Portland. Melissa is a graphic designer and the creator of Our Portland Story. We are inspired by Melissa’s Portland Story project and are honored that she was willing to talk to us about collecting oral histories and the importance of design.
Melissa told us a sweet story about her grandmother handing her a focaccia recipe shortly before she passed away. Though this recipe was not something Melissa’s family prepared ritually it was one of the last gifts her grandmother passed along to her.
Photo by Lauren Mirow Blankenship