“Feed Me a Story” Ends Run in Essex Street Market

Essex Street Market. Photo courtesy of Feed Me a Story.

Essex Street Market. Photo courtesy of Feed Me a Story.

This past Sunday we stopped by the Essex Street Market for a farewell brunch hosted by the team behind Feed Me a Story. That’s the documentary project from Theresa Loong and Laura Nova that tells the stories of multiple generations through secret family recipes.

Feed Me a Story’s more than 20 Thanksgiving-themed videos, featuring vendors and customers, played in a stall at the market for the past year. You can now watch them on Vimeo if you didn’t get a chance to take in the “Video Cookbook” while the exhibition was running.

The project showcased the incredible diversity of the Essex Street Market during a time of major change. The vendors will be heading across Delancey Street next year to a shiny new home in the Essex Crossing complex. The videos serve as a kind of love letter to the historic food hall, which opened on the Lower East Side in 1940.

If you would like to watch the videos, click here.  Feed Me a Story in the Essex Street Market was a collaboration with Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space. The program was made possible by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

 

“Feed Me a Story” Debuts Video Cookbook in Essex Market

John Lavelle of Nordic Preserves Fish & Wildlife Co., a scandinavian appetizing counter inside the Essex Street Market, is one of the vendors that participated in Feed Me a Story's latest installment of recipes for their historical "video cookbook."

John Lavelle of Nordic Preserves Fish & Wildlife Co., a scandinavian appetizing counter inside the Essex Street Market, is one of the vendors that participated in Feed Me a Story’s latest installment of recipes for their historical “video cookbook.”

Our friends at Feed Me a Story have some new recipes (which means stories!) to share with us.  Two summers ago we featured their series of cultural recipes from seniors on the Lower East Side, which included videos of the residents preparing the dishes and sharing their personal histories. This time around the team has documented recipes, stories and memories from vendors (and customers) located inside the Essex Street Market.

They have collected more than twenty personal stories, capturing the unique flavor and diversity that the historic market has to offer. With support from the Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space, they have installed their current  documentary-style video cookbook in a vendor stall next to La Tiendita (across from Luis Meats).

The "Feed Me a Story" stall inside Essex Market.

The “Feed Me a Story” stall inside Essex Market.

Multimedia artists Theresa Loong and Laura Nova have been documenting intergenerational histories through stories about food for a quite a few years now. The duo has partnered with several arts and cultural institutions in New York City, launching events at the Ellis Island National Historic Site, Governors Island LMCC Swing Space, Brooklyn Museum, Museum of Chinese in America, the Museum at Eldridge Street, Children’s Museum of the Arts and as SPARC artists with the LaGuardia Senior Center.

Their latest installment premeires this Saturday from 1pm – 3 pm during the annual Essex Street Market Block Party.

Here’s the trailer for “Feed Me a Story at Essex Street Market.”

Feed Me a Story at Essex Street Market opens Saturday May 21, from1 pm to 3 pm. Their pop-up space will be open Tuesday through Sunday, 12 pm to 6 pm.

Feed Me a Story: Sau Ying Lai Makes Sancocho

In the past couple of months we have been posting a weekly video installment from “Feed Me a Story,” a project created by multimedia artists Theresa Loong and Laura Nova, featured on The Lo-Down in May. It was part of the  FABLES Public Art project produced by FABnyc.

Feed Me a Story: Mendy’s Cauliflower Latkes

We are posting a weekly video installment from “Feed Me a Story,” the project created by multimedia artists Theresa Loong and Laura Nova that was featured in May here. It’s part of the  FABLES Public Art project produced by FABnyc.

Feed Me a Story: Mendy’s Sheyn Vi Di Levone

We are posting a weekly video installment from “Feed Me a Story,” the project created by multimedia artists Theresa Loong and Laura Nova that was featured in May here. It’s part of the  FABLES Public Art project produced by FABnyc.

Feed Me A Story: Carmelo’s Sorullitos

We are posting a weekly video installment from “Feed Me a Story,” the project created by multimedia artists Theresa Loong and Laura Nova that was featured last month here. It’s part of the  FABLES Public Art project produced by FABnyc which kicked off in May.

Feed Me a Story: King’s Pork Larb

We are posting a weekly video installment from “Feed Me a Story,” the project created by multimedia artists Theresa Loong and Laura Nova that was featured last month here. It’s part of the  FABLES Public Art project produced by FABnyc which kicked off in May.

Feed Me a Story: Diana’s Macaroni

We are posting a weekly video installment from “Feed Me a Story,” the project created by multimedia artists Theresa Loong and Laura Nova that was featured last month here. It’s part of the  FABLES Public Art project produced by FABnyc which kicked off in May.

Feed Me a Story: Ludy’s Pasteles

We are posting a weekly video installment from “Feed Me a Story,” the project created by multimedia artists Theresa Loong and Laura Nova that was featured last month here. It’s part of the  FABLES Public Art project produced by FABnyc which kicked off in May.

Feed Me a Story: Wai Man’s Stuffed Chinese Eggplant

Beginning today, we’ll be posting a weekly video installment from “Feed Me a Story,” the project created by multimedia artists Theresa Loong and Laura Nova that we featured last month here. It is part of the  FABLES Public Art project produced by FABnyc that kicked off in May.

Arts Watch: “Feed Me a Story” Dishes Up Seniors’ Secret Family Recipes

Multi-media artists Lora Nova and Theresa Loong presenting an early version of "Feed Me a Story" on the Ellis Island Ferry." Their latest series of stories are part of the FABLES Public Art project.

Multi-media artists Laura Nova and Theresa Loong presenting an early version of “Feed Me a Story” on the Ellis Island Ferry.” Their latest series of stories are part of the FABLES Public Art project.

This story first appeared in our May, 2014 magazine issue.

Beginning this Thursday, multimedia artists Theresa Loong and Laura Nova will be plastering a large mural made from photos of plates of food on the wall inside First Street Green Park (at the corner of East Houston Street and Second Avenue). On the plates will be dishes made from secret family recipes of Lower East Side seniors. The mural will include a link to a video of the chef preparing the food and the story behind the recipe.

Loong and Nova have been “exposing family secrets by sharing recipes and food” in different areas of the city for quite a few years now, through their ongoing project “Feed Me a Story.” They are one of five teams of finalists kicking off the FABLES Public Art project produced by FABnyc. The larger FABLES project explores the Lower East Side’s living cultural heritage, historical legacies and current issues in public storytelling; it runs in tandem this May with the inaugural Lower East Side History Month.

“It’s always more about the story behind the food than the actual food itself,” says Nova. “The sensorial memory is what gets people directly [back] to that story, because it’s so visceral. You can ask someone to tell you about their life… but when you ask them to do it this way, it seems to get to the good stories more quickly.”

The pair are currently artists in residence at the LaGuardia Senior Center, where they do most of their cooking and video recording.

“The interesting thing about the project is that we don’t know what [the seniors] are going to say,” says Loong. Sometimes their subjects are shy and speak languages other than English. “The trigger is we ask them to share a secret family recipe, as a starting question, but not everyone has a secret family recipe… when they do, that’s amazing.”

One woman once whispered, “Now I make it better than my mom.”

Loong said the chefs often don’t want to seem disloyal, but they are proud that they’ve tweaked the family recipe.

Eventually, they hope to add an interactive component that will allow people to submit and upload their own recipes to the video cookbook on the Feed Me a Story website.

Loong and Nova’s FABLES piece will include eight dishes from seniors who represent the diverse heritage of the residents on the Lower East Side. The featured recipes include recipes made by Jewish, Italian, Chinese and Puerto Rican families. They will host an opening party and potluck with a screening on Saturday, May 10th, from 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. at First Street Green Park.