Fish Stories Community Cookbook (2014-2015) is a collection of seafood recipes, local histories, stories and drawings alongside ecological information contributed by people who live and work in the Lower East Side of New York City—a former seaport and ever-changing neighborhood. The book was compiled and produced by the Oyster City Project (Rachel Stevens and Meredith Drum) for Paths to Pier 42 and distributed at the Paths to Pier 42 Fall Celebration on October 25, 2015.
Fish Stories Community Cookbook celebrates cultural histories tied to New York City’s dynamic harbor and embraces cooking and eating as a central everyday space through which we can envision a sustainable future for our city’s estuary. The name “Fish Stories” is meant to elicit playful contributions, and is a nod to Allan Sekula, an artist and theorist whose work interrogates the politics of labor and the flow of global capital in the maritime industry.
In the process of collecting recipes and stories from people in the Lower East Side, we held workshops or participated in public events to talk with people at the Hamilton-Madison House Senior Center; the fishing clinic at the Lower East Side Ecology Center; P.S. 184 Shuang Wen School Summer Carnival Fundraiser; the Loisaida Festival; 2 Bridges Kids! afterschool at Two Bridges Neighborhood Council; Family Day at the Vladeck Houses; Weinberg Center for Balanced Living at the Manny Cantor Center; a performance at Pier 42 by Arm of the Sea Theater; and the Mulberry Street Branch of the New York Public Library. All material was collected and compiled during the spring and summer of 2015.
Many thanks to all the partners and people who have generously participated!
Fish Stories Community Cookbook was made for and supported by Paths to Pier 42 – a partnership between the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Lower East Side Ecology Center, Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, Hester Street Collaborative and the Good Old Lower East Side. The book was celebrated and distributed at Pier 42 public events on May 9th, July 18th and October 25th, 2015.
Please contact me if you would like a copy of the published 50-page Fish Stories Community Cookbook. You can also find the book for sale at Blue Stockings Bookstore in the LES, and it is in the collection of the New York Public Library.
Drawing East River Fish with kids at the Loisaida Festival:
Collecting recipes at the Loisaider Festival May 2015:
Meredith’s Fish Stories workshop at the after school program at Two Bridges Neighborhood Council:
Fish Stories collects recipes at a fishing clinic hosted by the LES Ecology Center:
Image of the 50-page cookbook printed and ready to go out from our studio at 100 Wall Street (residency with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council). Thanks to Andy at G&P Printing on Center Street for doing such a great job on the book.
Artist Naima Rauam has generously agreed to our inclusion of her fantastic drawings of the Fulton Fish Market in our published version of Fish Stories:
Artist Barbara Mensch is kindly allowing us to include a few of her seminal photographs of the former Fulton Fish Market as well as come of the oral histories she collected at the market in the 1970s. This one is simply titled Nunzio – An Unloader circa 1982.
Kathy Creutzburg’s terrific illustration contributed to Fish Stories:
One of the fantastic illustrations that Jennifer Steffey contributed:
Striped Bass contributed by the excellent Eva Davidova:
Oysters by artist John Griefen:
Meredith working in the Fish Stories studio space at 100 Wall Street, a residency with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council