189 Allen Street Senior Center
University Settlement
April 2018

What is a neighborhood? What does it mean to be a neighbor? What do the senses have to do with community? Why should 70 year olds and 17 year olds want to sit down and eat together? What do they have to learn from each other? These are some of the questions Culinary Theater will engage with as we utilize cooking and the sharing of kitchen knowledge as occasions for communication, intimate encounter, and ultimately performance that helps us see, smell, and taste more clearly what we most want out of our neighborhoods and from our neighbors.

Culinary Theater has been spending a lot of time at the senior center at 189 Allen Street, where we were lucky enough to meet José. Originally from Puerto Rico, José has lived on the Lower East Side since the ’60s and worked at the world-famous Ratner’s kosher restaurant for 40 years. José was very generous to take us on a tour of his LES and teach us the recipe for Ratner’s matzoh balls. For our inaugural event at 189 Allen, we cooked up a batch together for the (mainly Catonese) swing dancers who fill the space with music and movement every afternoon.