Ethnic Foodways Project (EFP): Exploring Tradition through Cooking (July-Sept, 2013)

Exploring ethnic foods that lie outside the food served in restaurants alone

Ethnic Foodways Project (EFP): Exploring Tradition through Cooking (July-Sept, 2013)

Exploring ethnic foods that lie outside the food served in restaurants alone

Puttu is a traditional Sri Lankan dish made with rice flour and fresh grated coconut

Puttu is a traditional Sri Lankan dish made with rice flour and fresh grated coconut

From July-September, 2013, Staten Island Arts Folklife program will present the Ethnic Foodways Project (EFP), a series of free programs that will demonstrate the foodways of three ethnic communities on the island– Sri Lankan, Mexican, and Liberian. On Saturday, July 13, at the Saint George Greenmarket (St. Marks and Hyatt streets, Staten Island) from 11am-1pm the EFP will feature Sri Lankan home cooked food prepared by Monica Thenuwara. On Saturday, August 10, from 11am-1pm, at Staten Island Mall Greenmarket (2655 Richmond Avenue, Staten Island), the EFP will feature traditional Mexican food cooked using authentic ingredients and family recipes.  On September 14th, at the Liberian Market in Park Hill (between 140 and 160 Park Hill Avenue, Staten Island) the EFP will feature dishes from diverse regions of Liberia.  Some of the traditional food items featured in the programs will include Sri Lankan vambatu pabie (egg plant curry), Mexican chicken with adobo sauce, Liberian fufu, and others.  Attendees will get a chance to ask questions and observe chefs and home cooks prepare traditional food items through live demonstrations; learn about ethnic food stores and markets where people from different cultural groups shop for ethnic vegetables and spices; sample freshly prepared dishes; ask questions; and get the opportunity to better understand the diverse cultures of their neighbors and friends through food.

What is ethnic food? For most of us ethnic food is generally understood as food eaten by others who belong to groups outside our own communities. Our busy lives lead few of us to receive the good fortune to learn about the cultural knowledge, traditional methods, and nutritional value of dishes eaten by people from diverse cultural groups with whom we share our neighborhood.  The goal of the EFP is to explore ethnic foods that lie outside the food served in restaurants alone. The programs will feature restaurant chefs as well as home cooks who will prepare “everyday” dishes that are eaten by ethnic groups at home and lie outside the realm of gourmet food. The focus of the programs will be on “traditional” food items, the creativity that lies in adapting ethnic food to a new environment in the United States, and the reasons that lie behind the continued significance of certain food items for the communities.  

The Staten Island Arts Folklife’s “Ethnic Foodways Project” is supported by the Nicotra Foundation, Con Edison, and New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) in partnership with NYC Grow, Napela, and the Empowerment Zone Inc. in Park Hill.

Lamprais is a traditional Sri Lankan dish that is steamed inside a banana leaf

Lamprais is a traditional Sri Lankan dish that is steamed inside a banana leaf

 

A beautifully laid out table for dinner in a Sri Lankan home consisting of puttu and lamprais

A beautifully laid out table for dinner in a Sri Lankan home consisting of puttu and lamprais

Traditional Mexican pozole at Fiesta Poblana, a new Mexican restaurant at 31 Corson Avenue, Staten Island, NY

Traditional Mexican pozole at Fiesta Poblana, a new Mexican restaurant at 31 Corson Avenue, Staten Island, NY

 

Mexican Enchilada prepared by Chef Jose Landeros at his restaurant Fiesta Poblana at 31 Corson Avenue, Staten Island, NY

Mexican Enchilada prepared by Chef Jose Landeros at his restaurant Fiesta Poblana at 31 Corson Avenue, Staten Island, NY