This site has been evolving since 2012, and is currently the home to Cultures Capsules as we work out the design of the platform we will eventually move to.
Over the years, many of the questions that come in are best answered within the context of the values of this project. Above are the values that helped shape Cultures Capsules to this point, and are also helping guide us into the future.
Why aren’t there photos of you or other Cultures Capsules contributors?
We choose to keep our visual identities obscured for a few reasons:
- Cultures Capsules are multi-media portraits. Do you feel cheated when you don’t see a realistic photograph next to any sort of portraiture in a museum or gallery? Of course not – they stand by themselves and you take them for what they are.
- Cultures Capsules are multi-sensory interactive experiences. If you have chosen to replicate one from the gallery, the storyteller has offered you food, music and stories for you to experience. They are providing the roadmap, and it is what YOU do to reproduce it for your friends and family that becomes the experience.
- Once you host one, you realize that it is impossible to take photos/videos AND actually be present with your friends and family. We prefer the latter.
- By the same token, if you are attending, and only worrying about getting the Instagram photo, you aren’t really there. The Cultures Capsules that don’t make it to Instagram are arguably the best, most deeply felt ones.
- Many of the rich stories here would not have been shared if I required photos of the creators. Even in this social-media crazed world, there are still many of us who crave for a bit of privacy, even while wanting to share a story, and we think the current format maintains this balance.
- We believe it’s important to protect the privacy of those who don’t yet have a say (i.e. kids).
What’s up with the URL name (and “RMoB”)?
The “Real Mom of Brooklyn” (hence RMoB) website was established in 2012. As you may have guessed, the name was obviously a bit of a response to something with a similar name, but with a decidedly different vibe.
While preparing to make the move to a new site, the moniker still fits. As people continue to “break the mold,” as it were – in ALL sorts of ways – “REAL” means not fitting into any simple demographic box, or category.
Are these recipes authentic?
Absolutely. But note that we feel that the word “authentic” is being misused, and conflated with the word “traditional” in the worlds of food and culture today. For example, one version of an authentic New York Pizza of today may have salad on top, but it is not traditional New York Pizza, by any stretch.
Our individual family identities are often less a reflection of pure DNA, geography or taken-for-granted upbringings, and more about birthing our own identities through new traditions, food, music, etc. We hope this site begins to capture and share some of that beauty and exploration in a way that allows people to share bits of their existence in a nuanced way, and allows us to step in other’s shoes, using all of our senses.
Did you pay contributors for these stories?
Cultures Capsules grew out of my own friend circle, and continues to grow in this organic way. You come to my table and share my stories, and I go your table to allow you to share your stories with me. If you’re willing, I’ll even capture your recipes, make a playlist and write up your story.
For the couple stories outside of my friend circle that did not involve a meal, I send thank you notes and homemade, edible gifts.
Will you pay me, or reimburse me for food if I share my story?
Unless there is a ticketed event, or artist performance involved in a private event, there is no money exchanged and this is an important tenant of the project.
This project has always been a give and take. Breaking bread together, sharing stories around the table, with music helping to set the scene. It grew out of actual shared meals/stories with my own friends and family, captured online to share with the world, and I intend to grow it in the same way.
I welcome you to my table and you welcome me to yours. When come to your home, I don’t come empty handed; I’ll contribute to the meal with dessert or wine or a hostess gift. Guests at my home often do the same but I would never require it. This is how it happens in real life, and these Cultures Capsules are meant to capture real life.
I’m reminded of a quote on a wrought iron piece of art in my mom’s kitchen: “Happy to share with you such as we’ve got: the leak in the roof and the soup in the pot.” In looking for the author, I found that it’s actually part of a longer poem which further illustrates how I feel on the topic:
Guest, you are welcome here,
Be at your ease.
Get up when you’re ready,
Go to bed when you please.
We’re happy to share with you
Such as we’ve got,
The leaks in the roof
And the soup in the pot.
You don’t have to thank us
Or laugh at our jokes,
Sit deep and come often…
You’re one of the folks! — Unknown
Who are you, anyway?
For a while I kept my identity very private because I felt this wasn’t about me. I wanted to share this gallery as my offering, but I wanted it to be about the stories themselves.
I’ve since been convinced that I need to share a bit about myself so that you all can better connect with the concept and stories, so I do now have a bio posted.gallery