Marion Street Park Block Party

I joined Marion Street Park Block Party on a sunny Saturday, August 3, 2019 as a guest artist of One Stop Family Pop Up, along with members of Ile de Palmares capoeira group. I cooked Japanese curry noodle soup in the beautiful park, and provide the samples. One Stop Family Pop Up provided a lactation station, a changing table, and a play pen. Ile de palmares demonstrated capoeira angola, and instructed little ones.

I chose curry noodle soup, because it's an easy one pot meal. Courageous residents around the block tried this foreign food for the first time, and many actually liked it! One of the girls came back for three times to get more. Yey!

This area is mostly black neighborhood. One person who stopped by at the table told me that they were familiar with soul food, but not Japanese food. I am so glad that it was meaningful to provide easy to prepare Japanese home cooking demonstration and the recipe at Marion Street Park.

I believe that everyone, particularly young children should be exposed to different cultures to be successful in the 21st Century, so that we learn that there are many different value systems in the world. Food is the great entry point to be exposed to different cultures. Fortunately, we live in NYC. If we know where to go, we can get any kind of ethnic specialty food ingredients. We should take the full advantage of what this city offers.

Another purpose of this project is to foster empathy towards people from different cultural groups. We tend to see people from different groups with suspicious eyes, because we don't know them. But through food and cooking instruction, we talk to the unfamiliar person face-to-face, and realize that we all have families, dreams, and pursuing happiness. We have more similarities than differences.

Let's taste something new, and learn how to make it. Then we will learn the culture from the food and ingredients. It is a wonderful experience. And we can do all of it, without even stepping out of NYC!

Thanks to Marion Street Park Association for having us. And special thanks to always generous Rica Takashima of One Stop Family Pop Up, and cheerful and gracious capoeira crew of Ile de Palmares.