July 19, 2010
Indiana Black Expo
Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration 2010

(Photos by Kristin Hess)

The traveling exhibit just returned from Indiana Black Expo’s Summer Celebration, the largest ethnic/cultural event in the United States. We were positioned close to the food area, where Hoosiers (and travelers from throughout the country) could stop by the exhibition before and after their fish, wings, homemade lemonade, candied yams and other tasty treats from local organizations.

We displayed plates from Children’s Day on our Community Chalkboard and talked to countless people about their own food stories, concerns and memories. The Story Silo gathered some fantastic stories this weekend. Two sisters recorded a particularly memorable story about making fried apple pie. While sharing the silo, they told stories in memory of their mother, who now has advanced Alzheimer’s.  After experiencing these sisters reminisce about the sweetness of the pie and their beloved mother, I instantly felt a deeper connection to the shared humanity that unites us all with our food and, furthermore, to each other.

Our purpose with Food for Thought is to “examine and celebrate the ways food helps to define Indiana’s culture, considering food in the context of history, law, politics, science, the arts, religion, ethnicity and our place in the world.” After my experiences at Indiana Black Expo, I feel it’s beneficial to answer this in each of our lives: how does food help define your culture? How does it connect you more deeply to the people and vibrancy that surrounds us all?

What I’m continually realizing and learning with our exhibition is that often our sweetest memories and human interactions are deeply embraced by the food that accompanies them, and the more we realize this, the richer our memories and stronger our abilities to connect these memories with others.

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