For a class project, I created a Flickr with a series of my own photos. They focus on culture through religion and food. They were all taken at different times, without the purpose of this assignment in mind. Personal beliefs aside, I have always had a fascination with various cultures and religions…and I love food. My fascination and closeness with these topics is why I decided to group these pictures together for this assignment even though they were all taken during different events. I have many other photos that I could have included as well, but I chose these because there was also a holiday theme that tied most of them together as well. My grandfather was a pastor, so I’ve had a pretty strong Lutheran upbringing. I’m also Norwegian on my maternal side, so I’ve grown up around Norwegian food and culture more than anything else. About seven years ago, my mom remarried a Jewish man and since then our house has been extremely blended. We hold a Seder (a Jewish Passover meal) dinner annually and last year we ended up having it the evening before Easter. This past Thanksgiving also fell at the beginning of Hanukkah, so we celebrated both of those holidays as well. They are not shown but I often have photos of our Menorah by our Christmas tree and last year, my step-dad hung our Christmas tree lights to his Reggae Hanukkah music. All of this has become a huge and exciting part of my life, so through my photos I celebrate that. I also have two photos from last year’s Flower and Garden show. One is of the table that we created at my internship that has a Moroccan theme to celebrate the heritage of my boss. The second is a bed of flowers leading to a Buddha statue. Both of these cultures/religions are interesting to me and relate to my overall theme but are not quite as dear to my heart.
Photo 1: This photo depicts rolled, ready-to-eat lefse, a traditional Norwegian food made from potato dough, grilled and served buttered with brown sugar on the inside.
Photo 2: This is what lefse looks like cooking on a grill. Since I describe it as a grilled food, I wanted to ensure that it is not the same grill you cook chicken on, it’s a specialty “lefse grill.” I learned how to cook lefse at a young age, it’s one of the ways my family keeps our Norwegian heritage alive, as our family has been here for several generations.
Photo 3: The mugs from the Christkindle Market this past winter. It’s a German market (with delicious, not pictured, potato pancakes!) but it’s in the United States and is at least slightly Americanized, so there’s at least a little bit of juxtaposition there.
Photo 4: This is me, in all my Norwegian-but-I-look-Irish glory, standing with the Christkindle mugs at the market, in front of a giant menorah. There is also a poster for a German pretzel over my left shoulder. My friend took this; my rationale behind it was to capture the melting pot concept in this setting.
Photo 5: The Christkindle market with the giant Chirstmas tree in the background and the menorah is even further in the background.
Photo 6: This was an individual place setting at said Thanksgiving table this past year. We wanted to include Hanukkah, so we brought out the Hanukkah napkins instead of the plain cloth napkins.
Photo 7: The same Thanksgiving table with a focus on the centerpieces. Note the red, cross candle.
Photo 8: Our lit menorah on our Thanksgiving table after dinner.
Photo 9: This is my Easter candy, the morning after our Seder dinner. Yes, I still get an Easter basket and I still look for eggs; my mom likes to keep my brother and I young.
Photo 10: This is matzot ball soup, part of our Seder meal.
Photo 11: This is our Seder meal of beef brisket, potatoes, carrots, and kasha. It’s easily one of my favorite meals of the year. Not pictured is a dish called charoset, which is part of the Seder plate and consists of cinnamon mixed with chopped apples, nuts, and red wine. I always help my step-dad make it, it’s my favorite part of the meal itself.
Photo 12: The Buddha statue at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show
Photo 13: The Seder plate
Photo 14: My step-dad eating matzot, trying to keep it away from my dog, Luna. Fun fact, all of my family’s dogs (including Luna) have been baptized.
Photo 15: The Citygirl Weddings & Events table at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show. The colors, lanterns, and rug were meant to show Moroccan influence.