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Friday, December 11, 2020

Bringing Identity to the Table | By Dani Hobbs

I come from a multi-faith and multiracial family. My mom is white and was raised Jewish, and my dad is Black and was raised Baptist. My siblings and I grew up going to church every Sunday, but also celebrating Jewish holidays and considering our Jewish roots an important part of our heritage and culture. 


Admittedly, I’ve often struggled trying to make the multiple aspects of my identity feel whole. The world often talks about me in halves, and I’ve had to deal with the feeling that I’m not enough [fill in aspect of identity here]. Throughout my life though, the one place where the seemingly disparate parts of my identity come together is at the table. 



It’s through meals that I feel like I am able to fully celebrate the cultures that make me who I am, and it’s through meals that our family was able to blend them together. We eat soul food at our Passover Seders, and some years the smell of our Christmas cookies mixes with the smell of lingering latkes. I’ve seen religious boundaries crossed with the passing of matzo and charoset, and cultural boundaries crossed with heaping plates at the family cookout. When we share meals with others, we’re not just sharing food, but pieces of ourselves as well.  


Growing up, I didn’t always know what spaces I fit into, but I also grew up in a family that always made sure there was space for everyone at the table. That’s why food and sharing meals are both really special for me, and that’s also why I’m so excited about the South Philadelphia Community Cookbook. Through the cookbook, the contributors aren’t just sharing their recipes with the world, but a piece of themselves as well. The result, I think, is a unique display of what makes South Philly so beautiful and vibrant. I hope that, like it did for me, it will inspire you to think about the significance food and sharing meals have in your life. 


Today's blog post comes from Dani Hobbs, our Community Programs Student Coordinator. To sign up for the Cookbook Launch Party on December 14th, or to order your own copies of the cookbook, check out our website.


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