Immerse yourself in stories, flavors, and rhythms from all corners of the globe.
Immerse yourself in the music, traditions, and rituals that have kept Marisabel’s family recipe for carnitas delicious across countries and state lines for generations. Around her Mexican-American table, grooving to her favorite electro cumbias is an ingredient that is equally important as the cumin and orange slices, and after one bite you’ll know why.
Or experience the Brooklyn-ified South Indian comfort food of the Kudumala family kitchen, accompanied by a soundtrack of local musicians whose sounds reflect the same trajectory of the food: jazzy Indian classical.
The above are just a few favorite examples of the multi-media portraits captured on this site; each a multi-sensory time capsule comprised of recipes, playlists, stories, videos, etc., in short, everything needed to replay the experience (in your mind or in your kitchen).
You are invited to explore these portraits as you might cozy up with a book, allowing these sounds, words, and images to transport you into the stories of our friends and family from across the globe.
Or, better yet, maybe you will be inspired to make the stories come even more alive by recreating the experience yourself: trying out the recipes in your own kitchen, with the playlists on your speakers, and the stories enveloping you.
The site was founded in 2011 simply as a place to document and share recipes and playlists with the friends and family that I was sharing meals with and also capture multi-cultural musings that sprung from the same. Since then, it has evolved into the platform that you see now, which is just as much a digital family heirloom for me, as it is a multi-sensory storybook + cookbook + soundtrack for you.
This multi-sensory portrait format has also expanded into ticketed events in homes and venues. And even after the curtain drops, the fun continues because the event gets encapsulated here, through playlists, videos, recipes, etc.
These portraits aim to celebrate the real and the imperfect. The photos don’t always have Instagram sheen because we are most often capturing stories in homes without professional lighting/setups. The recipes are not developed for garnering ratings or selling advertising but are documented from actual home kitchens, sometimes handed down over generations, sometimes evolved as people move about the globe, or forged anew in families of multiple origins. Playlists are captured according to the storyline, often boundary-blurring, and never concocted for likes or promotion.
At the end of the day, this site simply offers a way of blending the radio DJ skills honed on my morning indie rock radio show on WZBC, with a channelling of my inner Julia Child to correctly document elusive family recipes with scientific exactitude, all while staying true to my “Julie the cruise director” nickname by continuing to host and connect friends and strangers around fun activities often outside of their norm.
And yet, as this collection of portraits grows, I hope the pluralism suggested in double-plural Cultures Capsules name, also grows in our world.
Through recipes, playlists. visuals and narrative, our portraits invite a conversation and celebration of our infinitely rich, and increasingly interconnected, and yet also wonderfully unique people and cultures of the world.
It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.-Audre Lorde
No matter what we believe or what language we speak, we all speak flavor, rhythm and narrative, and those can be our connection points, allowing us to recognize and celebrate differences.
So grab a cozy spot on your couch, or prep your speakers, stove and spoons, and immerse yourself in stories, flavors, and rhythms from somewhere on the globe.
For a decade I have avoided too much detail about myself because I didn’t want it to be about me. It still isn’t, and yet I’m told that telling a bit more about me and my process helps provide context for the stories and the site overall.
As a multidisciplinary artist, the portraits captured on this site represent my multimedia canvas, exercising my musical, literary, culinary and general artistic inclinations simultaneously, while also allowing me to showcase the stories of unique, multi-x people from all corners of the globe using the universal languages of flavors, rhythms, and narrative.
Over time, I’ve realized that my creative process thrives under constraint (often self-imposed). I most enjoy drawing mandalas on 3×3 Post-it notes, using a single color of permanent ink, and not allowing myself to stop until it gets through its ugly teenage phase and grows into something uniquely beautiful.
Similarly, I love to be consumed by the musical and lyrical challenge of translating French Hip Hop into English, ensuring I stay true to the poetic language and rhyme structure, all while keeping within the original melody. And sometimes I learn the guitar chords for it so that I can play and sing an acoustic, English version of a French hip hop song.
I present as a pale, be-freckled white woman assumed as Irish Catholic, but my daily experience is more than the sum of my DNA. I’ve birthed and am raising two bi-racial children with my South-Indian husband, and we practice both Hindu and Catholic traditions in our home, as well as explore other beliefs as a family. English, Telugu, Hindi, and French can be heard in our home, and our family spends several weeks in India each year, making me local in Hyderabad, New York City, and Cape Cod.
We are all so much more than a simple reduction to our DNA, places of birth, and all the other societal boxes that have in many ways outgrown their usefulness. I challenge you to take a moment to reflect on how you would tell the story of you through the foods, music, and stories that make you you.
Megs K., creator of Cultures Capsules