{ subscribe_url:'//blogs.loc.gov/share/sites/library-of-congress-blogs/folklife.php' }

Homegrown Foodways in West Virginia Film Series: “Ravioli and Sauce” and “Turkish Cuisine and Seed Keeping” Premiere September 15

The following is a guest post by West Virginia State Folklorist Emily Hilliard, who directs the West Virginia Folklife Program at the West Virginia Humanities Council. AFC staff have been working with Emily, as well as Mike Costello and Amy Dawson of Lost Creek Farm, to co-produce the Homegrown Foodways in West Virginia program, a series of four films that explore food traditions in the state, premiering on the AFC’s Facebook page on August 18th, September 1st, and Wednesday, September 15th (double feature @ noon EST), with a culminating discussion event on Thursday, September 30 @ 1pm EST, which you can register for by clicking here.

Lou Maiuri making Italian American dishes in his home in West Vriginia

Lou Maiuri at home in a scene from the film, Ravioli and Sauce with Lou Maiuri, by Mike Costello and Amy Dawson. Photo by Mike Costello, 2021.

This Wednesday, September 15th, beginning at noon EST on the AFC’s Facebook pagewe will premiere the final two films in the Homegrown Foodways in West Virginia series: Ravioli and Sauce with Lou Maiuri followed by Turkish Cuisine and Seed Keeping with Mehmet Öztan.

Ravioli and Sauce with Lou Maiuri 

Lou Maiuri, 92, is the son of Italian immigrants who arrived in West Virginia in the early 1900s. “Italians are big on food,” Lou says from his basement cellar, where the shelves are lined with preserved peppers, canned beans, and a family-recipe pasta sauce he’s been making for 70 years. In this video, Maiuri shares his recipe for homemade pasta sauce and ravioli, made from his mother’s recipe with tomatoes he grew on his Summersville farm in Nicholas County. As he works, Maiuri reflects on food as a sensory memory that connects him to his mother and other family members who have since passed. 

The film adds to existing documentation in the AFC archival collections on food preservation, gardening, and tomatoes in West Virginia, as well as documentation of the cultural traditions of Italian Americans in the Western U.S., as well as in Chicago, Illinois and Paterson, New Jersey, among others.

Mehmet Öztan at his outdoor oven in West Virginia

Mehmet Öztan of Reedsville, West Virginia in a scene from the film, Turkish Cuisine and Seed Keeping with Mehmet Öztan. Photo by Mike Costello, 2021.

Turkish Cuisine and Seed Keeping with Mehmet Öztan

In the small mountain community of Reedsville in northern West Virginia, sits a farm where hundreds of varieties of heirloom seeds are preserved, but relatively few of these varieties are known as Appalachian heirlooms; they’re mostly Turkish seeds from Mehmet Öztan’s home country. Öztan, who is the owner of Two Seeds in a Pod Heirloom Seed Company, and is a teaching artist in the 2020-2021 West Virginia Folklife Apprenticeship Program, got into saving seeds after he moved to the U.S. and had difficulty accessing ingredients he knew growing up in the Turkish capital of Ankara. He has used seeds and communal meals prepared in the traditional brick oven he and his partner Amy Thompson built in their backyard to establish new connections with the rural community where he now lives. In this video, Öztan prepares a hearty bean stew and lavash, a traditional rustic bread, in his backyard oven, and speaks about food as a point of connection to both his new home and his home country. 

The film adds to existing documentation in the AFC archival collections on dried beans in West Virginia, as well as Turkish American communities in New York City, among others. 

These films are the third and fourth in the AFC’s Homegrown Foodways in West Virginia program, a series of four films produced by Mike Costello and Amy Dawson of Lost Creek Farm, with support from the West Virginia Folklife Program at the West Virginia Humanities Council. The films, which explore a range of food traditions in the state, will premiere on the AFC’s Facebook page on August 18th, September 1st and Wednesday, September 15th.

The culminating discussion event on Thursday, September 30 (@ 1pm EST) includes the program’s producers and filmmakers, as well as Mehmet Öztan, Marlyn McClendon, and Jonathan Hall. You can register for the September 30th discussion by clicking hereWe hope you join us!

Watch the first two films in the series here: Foraging and Relations with Jonathan Hall and Kimchi Fermentation with Marlyn McClendon

Homegrown Foodways in West Virginia Film Series: “Korean Heritage and Kimchi” Premieres September 1

The following is a guest post by West Virginia State Folklorist Emily Hilliard, who directs the West Virginia Folklife Program, based at the West Virginia Humanities Council. AFC staff have been working with Emily, as well as filmmakers Mike Costello and Amy Dawson of Lost Creek Farm, to co-produce the AFC’s Homegrown Foodways in West […]

Homegrown Foodways in West Virginia Film Series: “Foraging and Relations” Premieres August 18

The following is a guest post by West Virginia State Folklorist Emily Hilliard, who directs the West Virginia Folklife Program, based at the West Virginia Humanities Council. AFC staff have been working with Emily, as well as Mike Costello and Amy Dawson of Lost Creek Farm, to co-produce the Homegrown Foodways in West Virginia program, […]

“God put the good stuff where lazy people can’t have any”: Exploring West Virginia Foodways in a New AFC Film Series

The following is a guest post by West Virginia State Folklorist Emily Hilliard, who directs the West Virginia Folklife Program, based at the West Virginia Humanities Council. AFC staff have been working with Emily, as well as Mike Costello and Amy Dawson of Lost Creek Farm, to co-produce the Homegrown Foodways in West Virginia program, […]

Shooting War – Framing History, Part I

The following is the first of a three-part blog post focusing on Military Photographers. When you think of our American military history, what images stand out?  Perhaps it is the black and white Joe Rosenthal photo of U.S. Marines raising a flag on Iwo Jima during World War II. Or maybe it is Nick Ut’s shot of “Napalm Girl.”  These iconic images have both inspired hope as well as […]

Reel Folk: Interview with Filmmaker Amy Nicholson

As the upcoming AFC film and discussion event, Reel Folk: Cultural Explorations on Film, nears, I interviewed filmmaker Amy Nicholson to whet the appetites of fellow ethnographic film enthusiasts out there! Amy’s 2005 film, Muskrat Lovely, will screen on September 30 2017, the second day of the Reel Folk event. View the full schedule here. What […]

Reel Folk: Cultural Explorations on Film Screening and Discussion Event

On September 29th and 30th, 2017, the Library of Congress is hosting “Reel Folk: Cultural Explorations on Film,” a series of free film screenings and discussions organized by the American Folklife Center. The films feature fascinating explorations of traditional culture in the U.S., focused particularly on cultural communities, traditional artists and their cultural practices in […]