The Japanese American National Museum and the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles announced the introduction of a series of collaborative programs starting with a three-part series, “A Taste of Home,” with monthly online presentations focused on Japanese American food and its history.
The inaugural program, “A Taste of Home: Building the Flavors of Japanese America,” is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 15.
The organizers believe that nothing says “home” like familiar tastes. Throughout time and the Nikkei diaspora, immigrants have learned how to bring the flavors of home to the table through ingenuity and tenacity. In this interactive program, participants can learn how early immigrant communities adapted traditional Japanese cooking in these new environments.
“This series promises to be an interesting glimpse into the history of Japanese Americans and their relationship with Japan as viewed through the lens of a shared food culture,” stated Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles Akira Muto. “Even in times of great deprivation and hardship, and often without many important ingredients, maintaining food traditions remained at the center of Japanese American life. We are delighted to support this unique exploration of the Japanese American experience and the vital role that food plays in bringing our people together, and to share this fascinating story with all Americans.”
The “Building the Flavors of Japanese America” program will feature foodways scholar Valerie Matsumoto, who will explain items from JANM’s collection as well as early Japanese American food history and how food trends have evolved into the present.
JANM Director of Collections Management and Access (CMA) Kristen Hayashi will share objects from the archives that highlight the ability of Japanese Americans to adapt and remain resilient through the foods they made while subject to racial bias and discrimination.
Cookbook author and designer Azusa Oda will demonstrate how to cook the staples of Japanese American dishes. Oda is the author of “Japanese Cookbook for Beginners: Classic and Modern Recipes Made Easy. “
The series will continue in December with a program on Japanese American holiday food and will conclude in January 2021 with a presentation of Japanese American restaurant food and dining. Each 90-minute presentation will include instructional videos, hands-on interactive food preparation food workshops, and historical and archival content from JANM‘s collection.
“JANM is delighted to begin this programmatic partnership with the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles,” stated Ann Burroughs, JANM president and CEO. “Food is a wonderful vehicle to help understand history, traditions and culture. While the Japanese American community has always observed food traditions during holidays like Oshogatsu or New Year’s, the history is often not well known. This partnership with the Consulate General is important for JANM and the Japanese American community to help strengthen our ties with Japan.”
For more information, visit janm.org or follow on social media @jamuseum.