Time to go home: packing up our virtual picnic

Tea Picnic possibly at Pickmere

Over the last 10 weeks we having been picnicking with gusto, creating food out of all kinds of materials and delving into the archives for foodie related stories. It’s time to pack away the picnic cloth and pick up the wrappers but look out for some more exciting digital programming coming soon from our museum team.

Strudel challenge

For starters

We kicked off with our multi-faith textile group being inspired by foods from their different religions and cultures. They made an amazing selection of dishes for our virtual picnic out of crochet, felt, embroidery and even stuffed tights! The group supports each other to make all kinds of textile projects, whether you are expert or complete beginner. If you would like to join our merry band please email laura@manchesterjewishmuseum.com

Making felt pears surprisingly therapeutic in lockdown

For Main Course

Once we really got going with the virtual picnic project we had a good old dig around in our archives and it turns out that Jewish people who came to Manchester from all over the world loved to go on a picnic – whether at Heaton Park or further afield into the Peak District. Once we started to look we couldn’t stop finding descriptions of childhood memories of sweets, Jewish bakeries and delis in Cheetham Hill and a Sephardi farm producing yoghurt in South Manchester. Like today, Jewish food culture is richly diverse and of course yummy!

Sports Club picnic 1930

Dessert

We cheated a bit and started our virtual picnic by making strudel as described by Clara Weingard in our oral history collection. The museum team took up the challenge but we opted for the sweet version with nuts and fruit rather than the savoury meat version that Clara’s mother also made on their kitchen table in Cheetham. Then we restrained ourselves for a few weeks until Shavuot rolled around and Andrea from the museum team highlighted items from our collection and of course gave us her famous cheesecake recipe!

Andrea’s tea loaf with chocolate chips…

Entertainment

It wouldn’t be much of a picnic without some entertainment, which was ably provided by the Cheetham Festival online Spring Fling. We had our song-writing group singing new songs based on the stories of Lily, Martin and Maurice from our oral history collection as well as some classics from the Crumpsall Concert Band. The videos are still up on the festival YouTube Channel so you can still take a look.

The virtual picnic blog posts will stay on our website for you to peruse at your leisure – enjoy and see you soon!

Music, Textile Group, Virtual Picnic

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