Houston has become known as a food mecca, but its roots/routes are drawn directly from its diverse communities. Food & Family will explore the supporting role that each of these domains – food and family – plays in enhancing the significance of the other. After all, family is the elemental unit of human social life and food is the essential component of not just its survival, but its capacity to thrive. 

The exhibition Food & Family explores the synergistic role that each of these—food and family—plays in enhancing the cultural significance of the other. The exhibition samples the notion of family as a food delivery system in both its simple (e.g., the domestic kitchen) and its complex (e.g., the ethnic grocery store or the family restaurant) manifestations, while simultaneously treating food as a powerful cultural marker in many aspects of family life, from religion to ethnicity to regional identity. 

So Food & Family is a journey with many stops along the way (and, in keeping with the metaphor above, many means of delivery), but we could not go everywhere. By looking at the craft of recreating a prized, multi-generational recipe, the traditional artistry of making food beautiful and enticing, the beliefs that inform the value placed on certain foods, and the stories associated with family foodways, Food & Family travels selectively from the home kitchen, to the family-based farm, the multi-generational restaurant, the entrepreneur, the grocer and the distributor. 

Food & Family will involves artifacts and photograph, as well as audio and video installations. An accompanying publication will celebrate the domestic thread that binds food and family. A series of public programs, including The Edible Museum and Food & Family in the Community, will be organized and presented for free over the course of the exhibition’s run. 

The Heritage Society is partnering with Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) Folklife + Civic Engagement program on an exhibition entitled Food & Family in The Heritage Society Museum Gallery. Food & Family is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Houston Endowment and the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance.


Image: courtesy of HAA Folklife + Civic Engagement