Monday, June 25th, 2012
On Sunday, June 24, I was privileged to be a part of the Latitudes Storytelling Festival in Victoria Park. Our panel was about food writing on the digital platform, and I was there to talk about the iPad app for Food That Really Schmecks, based on Edna Staebler’s famous cookbook of the same name. On the panel with me were Paula Costa (Dragon’s Kitchen)—who recently commemorated the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic by recreating for friends the eleven-course meal that was served to the first-class passengers on their last night—and Carolyn Blackstock, who is commemorating Kitchener’s 100th birthday by cooking a recipe a day from The Berlin Cookbook. With each post Carolyn uses census data and local history sources to tell a little bit about the person who submitted the recipe. It was wonderful to be part of this panel to hear about the other projects and to talk about all things Schmecks with a captive audience.
After the presentation I took part in a guided tour through downtown Kitchener called Made in Kitchener: Personal Stories from our Industrial Past. At each spot we stopped and, using a QR Code to connect through our smart phones, we listened to stories from people who had worked and/or lived in a nearby historical building (or, in some cases, a building that used to be on that spot). To keep the tour moving along, we abbreviated each presentation, but much more is available on the website, and there participants are encouraged to contribute their insights. This is a fascinating project that links historical buildings in the core to real people, telling their stories of a time past. I was reminded often throughout the tour of the many men and women who have contributed their stories to our Life Writing series.
Kitchener was a thriving hub of industry, but manufacturing has declined and has been mostly replaced by the knowledge industry (thriving in both Kitchener and Waterloo). This digital presentation honours both those traditions. I am looking forward to spending more time on all of these sites and reacquainting myself with fascinating local history.
Must Write: Edna Staebler’s Diaries (Christl Verduyn, editor)
Haven’t Any News: Ruby’s Letters from the Fifties (Edna Staebler)
Food That Really Schmecks (Edna Staebler)
Liberty Is Dead: A Canadian in Germany, 1938 (Margaret Derry, editor)
Watermelon Syrup (Annie Jacobsen, Jane Finlay-Young, and Di Brandt)
The Battle for Berlin (W.R. Chadwick)
I Have a Story to Tell You (Seemah Berson)
post by Clare Hitchens