Quality, Diversity, and New Year’s Food

BlinismallToday is New Year’s Day.  For dinner last night, New Year’s Eve, I made blini with caviar and today I am making Hoppin’ John with black-eyed peas, a food traditionally eaten in the American south on New Year’s Day day to bring good luck.  While these foods are “traditional” New Year’s fare, they have not been traditions in my family or the cultures that I claim as my own.  Yet, I enjoy them thoroughly.

When I have written about audience engagement or about programming in a spirit of cultural inclusion and egalitarianism, I have sometimes included the phrase (or the spirit of): “if you want the world to look at your stage, the stage needs to look like the world,” meaning that the world on stage needs to reflect the diversity of stories found in the audience.  In saying this, I have been accused of advocating for “setting quality away on the shelf.”  Nothing could be further from the truth. My New Year’s culinary “programming” provides a good analog.  The food was delicious, using the highest quality ingredients.  If I were presenting this food professionally, I would have brought in a Russian chef for the blini and a Southern one for the Hoppin’ John to assure not just the quality of the fare (I humbly assert than I have that covered) but also its authenticity.  Most importantly, the excellent food can be enjoyed by all: Russians, Southerners, and everyone else.

About lindaessig

Linda Essig is director of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Programs at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University, including its award-winning arts entrepreneurship program, Pave: http://pave.asu.edu The opinions expressed on creativeinfrastructure are her own and not those of ASU. You can follow her on twitter @LindaInPhoenix and "like" the Pave Program in Arts Entrepreneurship at http://www.facebook.com/pages/pave-program-in-arts-entrepreneurship/386328970101 Find Pave's journal, Artivate, at http://artivate.org
This entry was posted in Culture and democracy, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s