Let’s Talk About Food

December 21, 2015

A project of the Painted Bride Art Center, Re-PLACE-ing Philadelphia is building an expanded archive of cultural memory that includes multiple histories, re-place-ing the established with new narratives and understandings. ​

The way we think about a place changes when someone else’s story is shared. Re-PLACE-ing Philadelphia’s archive of Field Notes continues to grow and we want more stories from YOU.

This month, we’re focusing on “Food Notes,” and asking you to contribute your Philadelphia food note. Food, in particular, is central to place—the smells and tastes, the traditions and histories. Food gathers people together to commune. What does that look and feel like in Philadelphia?

What are the recipes of your Philadelphia?
When you think of Philly, do particular memories of smells associated with food come to mind?
What are the stories and histories around the food you cook and eat?
What are the restaurants you loved but no longer exist?
What kinds of food are available to you in your neighborhood and what are not?


In the food notes thus far, we’ve heard from:

Lisa Nelson-Haynes of the Painted Bride shared her grandmother’s apple brown betty recipe. Lisa writes, “My grandmother lived in South Philly all of her life and I cannot go by her last home on 20th and St. Alban’s without thinking about this recipe.”

My Grandmother, Nina’s (pronounced Nine-a) Apple Brown Betty


6 Honey Crisp apples (or 3 Honey Crisp and 3 Granny Smith)
6-10 slices of bread
1 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
4 tablespoons of butter
1/3 cup of water


Preheat oven to 375 degrees
skin and cut apples in to slices
mix sugar and cinnamon
break bread into small to medium pieces
grease a baking dish
loosely cover bottom of the baking dish with bread
add layer of apple slices
follow apple slices with a generous sprinkling of cinnamon sugar combo
add a few pats of butter
repeat layering process again beginning with bread pieces
add water once all of the bread and apples are used
cover and bake for 45 mins.


Re-PLACE-ing Philadelphia has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.