Serving food, creating community
Humans historically and across cultures feel connected through the sharing and making of food. Food is not only necessary to our survival but also intrinsically cemented within social function and identity. The presence of food in our lives plays a large role in describing who we are and our personal family history. For Italian Americans, food not only acts as a form of connection but also symbolizes a part of American immigration history. Today, the descendants of Italian immigrants make up more than 10% of every state in New England. In Rhode Island specifically, 18.9% claim Italian ancestry. Federal Hill is an example of a neighborhood in Rhode Island largely settled by Italian-American immigrants and while it has evolved, the influence of Italian people and culture is ever present.
Federal Hill has a rich history that has been well documented by the Providence community. However, since its latest documentary in 2006, there has been no official update into the current state of Federal Hill. Therefore, I embarked on this project with the goal to document what Federal Hill means today to its inhabitants. I began by interviewing and visiting the remaining mom-n-pop shops along Atwells Avenue to learn more about the culture and how they have remained prosperous for over 100 years. The final book is a collection of images: found through research, Google Maps, online sources, or I took them myself when exploring Federal Hill.