⇧ 7 FEBRUARY – 1 MARCH
⇨A BRIDGE COULD BE A CUCUMBER
⇩ALEX DABI ZHEVI
Our maternal grandparents were political refugees, emigrating from Bulgaria to Australia in the 1950s. Teenagers when they arrived, they had rarely ventured out of the valley or their village (selo) prior to their escape. In Australia, they experienced some cultural continuity through a large community of Balkan migrants living in diaspora. Preparing Bulgarian food became a bridge where tradition negotiates geographical distance and migration.
These signage-based texts are of the ‘peasant’ foods served on our tables countless times since our grandparents’ arrival. They are the staple dishes of family celebrations or after school snacks—unglamorous and non-exotic to a white audience. While these recipes are practical, they offer a deeply emotive experience. Food plays a symbolic role in our lives as lists, recipes and ingredients represent the practicalities of nourishment and survival. They express tradition and culture as what we eat becomes intangible and emotional, forming part of an economy of identity.