Food and Religion: An Examination of Culture and Connection

Micah & Kayla Green

A good editor will tell you don’t use clichés. So why does everyone say that “food is love?” That it’s universal? Needing to eat to survive is universal, but as much we may try to coerce our palates, some of us just will never like gefilte fish or every loose Southern interpretation of “salad.”

We are a married, co-working interfaith couple. We were both raised with religion and continue to come to terms in adulthood with our individual and shared values of it as well as the hypocrisies we find in reality. Food within religion is a topic and practice that has brought us together since we started dating. In marriage, it’s a door that opens our home for friends and family to gain experiences we might not otherwise share, our interactions either genuine or thinly veiled tokenism. The two are deeply intertwined in our identities and are foundational to culture across the world, and we feel we are poised to tell part of that story in an intimate, nuanced and meaningful way.

This project will explore themes such as:

  • Breaking down the cliché. Many people have distorted and fraught relationships with food, and it is often used to “other” people and groups while it also simultaneously is the only connection many people have to their heritage in a world is diaspora;
  • Connections to rules and labels that make us uniquely human, for better or worse;
  • Generational consequences of mixing cultures, especially religious and racial minorities in the American South, and what has been created from it;
  • Transcending religion and becoming the traditions themselves, whether religious or secular;
  • Global influences as a result of both colonization and isolation; and
  • More than religion, the act of food – making it, sharing it, eating it – is a way to pass down legacy. To tell stories. To become us.

 

How we’ll do it: We have access to homes, places of worship and organizations in the American South and have the journalistic capabilities to connect with people we both do and do not know.

With full funding, we have access to make this an international project.