I am going to start here with a bit of weighty and academic talk. When I decided to research my own heritage, I wanted to do more than just talk to people. I’ve been learning about a method of research called “sensory ethnography.” Ethnography is a broadly defined research method that includes interviews and engaging with research participants. The sensory part allows me to think about more than just listening to the interview but to use all my senses. When I started thinking about this research topic, food was a natural fit. I thought if I cooked or baked with people while we talked about our common heritage, it would be more relaxing and give us a chance to experience what we were talking about.
I let each person I talked to choose their own recipe that they thought of as Dutch. Then I went to their house and spent a few hours in their kitchens. When we had a few minutes, I asked each person to show me some of the Dutch items that they’ve collected or inherited. My participants were so welcoming and after cooking with each of them, I feel like I know more about each of them and more about my own created heritage.
For this project I did four interviews with six people including: