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What's For Dinner?

Published Porridge Arts Journal, 2021

I have embroidered this piece as a re-enactment of the resettlement of my great- grandmother, Gertrude Dembinski’s to Liverpool, and her perseverance in establishing a new life for herself. After fleeing the escalating anti-Semitism and Nazism in Danzig, she taught herself to sew and became a highly proficient and successful seamstress. All without speaking a word of English.

This table scape as a way to celebrate and commemorate experience, and preserve and remember contemporary tradition. As I assess food’s function as a shared language, I consider the table as the common landscape of the Jewish diaspora.

I document Ashkenazi food as a form of connection, examining the way mealtimes such as those held at my Grandmother’s table have become, for the Jewish diaspora, our place, our community, our landscape. I am keen to explore the way lost landscapes can become reconstituted – though my great-grandmother had lost her nationality and the physical surroundings of her upbringing, they came to be redefined through the experience and ritual of sharing food, as her family prepared to celebrate Shabbat at home every Friday night.

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