Family ethnography through food
Specific story – my family food traditions and their significance to different family members
Larger engagement – the assimilation of Italian Americans. How White have we become, how committed are we to preserving our heritage?
Action to film:
- making Easter pies
- mom making Sunday sauce
- me making Sunday sauce
- interview with mom & dad separately
- take stills of family photos to show when different people are referenced in interviews
- if possible, interview Aunt Clair & Aunt Rita by phone
- How long have you been making this dish?
- Who taught you to make it?
- Who made it when you were little?
- Why is this made on this particular holiday/day of the week?
- Why do you keep this tradition even though you no longer participate in Christianity?
- Is it important to you that I keep making this dish? Why?
- What do you know about the history of our family cooking this dish?
- Tell me about a memory you have of making or eating this before I was born.
- Was Italian spoken at home when you were growing up?
- Did any of your living relatives speak Italian?
- What was the attitude towards speaking Italian?
- What was the attitude towards being “American” vs. “Italian”? How did your family identify? How do you identify now?
- What are some non-food-related traditions or values that were observed at home? Which of these did you keep? Why do they matter?
- How important is your Italian heritage? How important is it to preserve and pass on that heritage?
- Is there anything you wish you had done/could do to preserve that heritage?
- Was Italian folk magic practiced in our family?
- What are some superstitions your family members held?
- Tell me more about the connection between living and dead family members. Share a story that you or someone else experienced feeling connected to a dead family member.
- Are there any traditions you chose to discard? Why?
- What is unique about Italian Americans? What defines us? Do you see us as a distinct group?
Finish watching Italian Americans series on PBS to get some broader context on the assimilation of Italians. May or may not make it into this project.