Lost in Translation - Angela Prosper

Angela Prosper

Lost in Translation: The Power of Local Food Traditions and the Potential Extinction of Cultural Heritage

Angela Prosper, Civita Institute Drexler Family Diversity Fellow, 2020

Astra Zarina once said, “If you’re going to be an architect, the first thing you need to do is learn how to cook.” In other words, to better understand a place and its people, a good place to start is with their food. The art of cooking is a universal language we should all strive to be more fluent in.

Lost in Translation is a genesis project that seeks to illuminate what it means to eat local and sustainable foods in order to protect cultural heritage and how traditional ethnic foods and recipes are at risk of disappearing forever.

Part cookbook, part culinary love letter, and part cautionary tale, Lost in Translation is inspired by my own discoveries of food traditions within my Puerto Rican family. I am collecting stories of local food traditions in places connected to my genetic heritage and finding similarities and differences. By participating in immersive culinary experiences, interviewing over 15 local producers and elders in and around Civita, recipe documentation, and photographic storytelling, I focus on the daily importance of the local food traditions of this region, how COVID and climate change have impacted these traditions and the stories of the people behind them.

Angela Prosper is a designer, writer, photographer, and recipe developer in Seattle, Washington. My interviews with the people in and around Civita di Bagnoregio focus on producers, farmers, restauranteurs, and families that have lived there for hundreds of years, as well as newcomers inspired to keep local food traditions alive. I focus on their insights, wisdom, and joys. I also shed light on their hardships, struggles, and where future generations might stand in the wake of this cultural extinction.