Peter Vega, Executive Director, Chicago Cultural Alliance

Taste from Home is a collection of recipes and stories can be used as a way to connect with others and facilitate conversations about race, culture, and identity over a new recipe. Make a cultural dish and sit down with family and friends and have a discussion of the culture it represents. 

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation today, if you are able. If you are unable to donate, you can still participate by sharing a recipe by using hashtags #tastefromhome, #tastefromhomerecipe, & #chicagocultural on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.


 

During our time in quarantine, my partner Stephen and his sister, Carolyn, and I decided to start cultural culinary adventures on the weekends! We alternated weekends on who would decide the menu and cultural cuisine. On my weekend, I wanted to make something that reminded me of home. One option I thought of was the delicious Puerto Rican family recipes that I have yet to perfect myself, however, I made it a personal goal to make Puerto Rican food more often in general. So, I thought about other dishes that remind me of home and New York City pizza and bagels immediately came to mind. 

As of May, I’ve lived in Chicago for seven years, but New York City is home and more specifically the Bronx. I grew up on East 220th Street and Carpenter Avenue in the Northeast Bronx where in the 60s, this neighborhood was predominantly Jewish and Italian-American. As a kid in the 90s, living in the Bronx, children my age would hang out with their friends to eat cheap pizza. So I would indulge in the delicious cuisine of the New York pizza joints and Jewish delis that were such foundations of the community. 

For my first Taste from Home recipe, I decided to share a Jewish deli classic, bagels and lox. At a young age, I learned the word lox is derived from the Yiddish word for salmon. I made my family a weekend brunch of homemade bagels and all the fixings, including capers, pickled red onions, tomatoes, and cream cheese. When I eat a bagel and lox, I am immediately brought back to my life in New York City. 

Taste from Home is a storytelling initiative that promotes cultural understanding. Food elicits vivid memories especially when tied to cultural traditions, holidays, or simply experiences that remind us of family and home. We hope you can join us in sharing a Taste from Home story of your own. 

The Chicago Cultural Alliance promotes and supports museums and cultural heritage centers that help us deepen our knowledge of the cultures in Chicago. I hope you can help us to promote cross-cultural experiences for a more inclusive Chicago by making a donation to the Alliance today. 

The recipe is in the link. A donation is not required to view the recipe. Any donations made will support the Chicago Cultural Alliance’s mission to promote, support, and connect museums and centers of cultural heritage for a more inclusive and equitable Chicago.