Photography: Jake Caleb
'Pelmeni: A Conversation Cookbook' presents the starting point of an investigation into the histories of pelmeni, a type of dumpling originating from nomadic peoples of the Ural mountains. Over a course of four small pelmeni-making sessions with women from different backgrounds, I collected oral histories of language, food and practices of home in 2021.
This is part of a longer-term project that looks into the origins of pelmeni from hunters' sustenance to their present status as a national dish of Russia. Alongside looking into this history of assimilation through the expansion of the Russian Empire, I also seek to set down minor histories: stories of day-to-day life for women who have moved to the Netherlands from elsewhere.
The collaborative making of pelmeni—literally translated from Udmurti as ear-bread—foregrounds cooking together as a time for listening. The workshops took place in Rotterdam and Utrecht, in the autumn of 2021 in English, Dutch and Russian languages.
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This project is supported by Stichting Droom en Daad.
Printed with PrintRoom.
Publication launched at LIFE, Rotterdam with generous help of Ash Kilmartin.