Anonymous Interviews: DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES FOR COMMUNICATING CULINARY HERITAGE – 3.1

3.1 How useful are internet, social media and other digital tools (YouTube, Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, TV shows) for you in order to find and share recipes, discussions about food?

Participant: The majority of the recipes that I find and share would be on-line through portals. If I want to cook something traditionally Slovenian, I’ll go to one of the well-known Slovenian cooking portals and try to find some recipes. I’d be looking for is rating, rating for a recipe, which is typically not something you can get from a cook book. You want to find something that’s proven and do it. We will occasionally exchange recipes via e-mail with my mum or other relatives. It’s quite important.

Participant: If you go to my grandparent’s house, they’re old fashioned. They’ve got about 20 cookbooks and they’re about 150 mil thick. They have recipes and recipes and recipes in there. Mum usually goes through them to get some stuff. We haven’t really looked on the Internet before unless we are cooking different cuisines, Indian or Thai. My aunty generally does that, she finds us the Internet stuff. My generation, if you do not have grandparents that have all those cookbooks and stuff I do see the importance of Internet and social media which could get you the recipes that you need and show you how to cook it.

Participant: I like the old-fashioned way. I could live without Internet. But I think it’s really important. If you want to Google something, like how to cook a Slovenian dish and you don’t have a cookbook or you don’t have a recipe at home, you can learn from the other side of the world how to cook the recipe. But I am a bit old-fashioned and I like cooking from a cookbook unless I don’t have the recipe.

Participant: Without it it wouldn’t be possible. That’s where you go. When you want to make something, you just Google it. I always go on the Internet and find recipes there, every time. My family has a cook book that they pass on to the generations and apparently I’m skipped. So my brother gets it for some reason. Maybe because I didn’t stay in Slovenia and they wanted. I don’t know why they can’t scan it and give me a copy in this age. I’m still working on that. Because of that I have some recipes that my grandma told me and I wrote them down. I still have all those. But otherwise I would just constantly keep looking for new recipes. When I’m really happy with a recipe I’ll write it down. I’ll never keep it if I’m not a hundred percent satisfied. I’ll keep looking and keep searching. Internet is absolutely essential for that. I wouldn’t be able to do it without it.

Participant: This is the best, a good way to share different opinions, also to educate people around the world. They can share the recipes and they can try that in their kitchens. It means bring it from a theory into the practice. [Interviewer: Do you use it?] Sometimes I go on Internet and try different recipes, especially Asian cuisine, and it can be very interesting. [Interviewer: Do you sometimes do a fusion of Slovenian and Asian?] Not exactly together, but I try to practice different recipes and see the difference between one and the other kitchen.

Participant: It’s also important so you can communicate with people from Slovenia. They can share the recipes with you. So you don’t really fall behind, and you can still communicate. [Interviewer: You share something?] I just talk to my friends, not about food, just about how everything’s going. [Interviewer: What do you share usually? Photos or…] Yeah, photos. My mum posts photos of the food that we usually make. [Interviewer: And they comment, what do they say?] It looks delicious.

Participant: I often use Internet to find particular recipes. I watch YouTube so I could learn how to do, not a puff pastry but a filo pastry. I didn’t have to do that back in Slovenia, but now I have to because it’s my daughter’s favourite dish, the “štruklji” [special dumplings]. I had to learn how to do it. I was using YouTube to see how it has to be done, because there was nobody to show me. We have some Slovenian cooking books, but nobody can really show you, so just in text and sometimes that’s not enough. It’s hard to understand. It’s not hard in the sense, but sometimes you have to feel things as well. Particularly with dough, you have to feel it, to try, to see how it goes.

Participant: It’s very important, particularly with the second, third generation. It’s hard enough to get people together where you invite people to come and talk about this type of thing. Social media’s a very important tool because it means anyone anywhere can give their comments, their recipes, their ideas. They don’t necessarily have to be meeting a person and they can showcase things like pictures. They can put up videos and do it themselves. They could video themselves making particular cakes or particular foods, Slovenian foods. That interaction works very well with different people. People might not necessarily live in the city areas. They might be outside the areas that would want to be involved in this type of thing. That’s a very good tool to exchange ideas.

Participant: I think is good. I cannot say great. Great would be if everybody can, or most of people, can use technology and record themselves. Today we have the selfie, but finally you make something. Not just that you show your face or what you put it for make-up, new haircut… Show me what you know. Then you can express yourself. Because everything in this world is about expression, is about showing who you are, what you capable are, what you can learn. It is not about what you know, is how much you can learn.

Participant: Mainly I use old cookbook that my mother-in-law gave it to me. It’s really old, Sodobna kuharica, and there are really good recipes. “Jota, štrudel, štruklji” [bean and sauerkraut/turnips hotpot, strudel, special dumplings]. I always go and do, because those recipes are really working. Sometimes I would go to Kulinarika.net. I Google there, but I don’t know how many times I use the recipes. It’s more what I learn back home from my mum or grandma or some friends, that I’m still doing now, “prekmurska gibanica” [Prekmurje layer cake]. I want to learn proper “štruklji” [special dumplings]. I organised my mum. There is one cook, she was chef, she is retired now, so I will meet her for one day while I’m in Slovenia. She will teach me how to do this, because I have to see it. Like strudel, I had to see how it’s made. That’s why YouTube. I wanted to check if there is any apple strudel video. I think I saw something, because other friends wanted to learn and I can’t explain to them how to make it. That’s why we went to YouTube. Probably I would use it. I didn’t need it yet. It’s useful. If I wanted to, I would go and check if there is any video about how you make something.

Participant: I’m not that advanced with outside technology or digital technology, but having access to this outside is a great benefit. If you want to cook particular type of meal that you do not have a hand on a recipe and how to cook it, that gives you opportunity to obtain a recipe. With the YouTube videos it’s also a great benefit, because if you don’t understand how to prepare that meal through the recipe, you can view it and that also helps you.

Participant: We watch TV shows like My Kitchen Rules. We watch Ramsay, very, very good, and Jamie Oliver as well because he’s very predominant now here in Australia. Occasionally we look on the Internet for recipes. Every now and again.

Participant: It’s a very good concept. I myself don’t use it. Not because I don’t like it, it’s fantastic. It’s more a time factor for me but it’s brilliant. It’s accessibility and it makes everything easy. If you want to have a conversation with someone it’s at your fingertips. It’s something that I would like to take advantage of but I don’t have the opportunity at this stage.

Participant: [Interviewer asking an older person: Do you use Internet?] Yes. I do, but only to read the newspaper. [Interviewer: You read recipes sometimes?] Not really. [Interviewer: You have cookbooks printed?] Yes. Whatever Slovenian recipe that it was [a name of the woman] she gave from the Internet. She gave me a printout, or [a name of the woman] she can give me a printout as well.

Participant: Not a great deal. I haven’t got that far. Facebook to a bit of a degree where there’s a bit of sharing of recipes. I have seen your cooking hub and hopefully that’ll develop a lot further. That would be very, very interesting. I do have enormous amounts of stored recipes, Slovenian recipes in my computer, but not being home a great deal. I don’t access it enough. It’s more food on the run. That’s yet to be further developed. The data’s there, it just hasn’t been used. I actually shared by [a name of the woman]. [A name of the woman] shared a lot of recipes some time ago. I did go in and have a look, but haven’t used a lot.

Participant: It’s very important. We are all used to the Internet now and if you want to do a particular recipe you just Google it and it will be there. It’s even better if it’s YouTube, that you watch the procedure. Sometimes recipe gives you the steps, but once you see somebody doing it, it’s like you would watch you mum or a relative doing it, and that’s very positive.

Participant: I do, [my husband] doesn’t. For me it’s invaluable, so I would probably look up something every day. I have my favourite sites that I go into. I have a million cookbooks but I always go to this particular website first… I’ll always go to Taste first and look for what I’m looking for. If I don’t find it there I will look on the Internet more broadly and see if I can find it somewhere else, whatever I have in mind. [Interviewer: You’ll also check for video recipes?] Sometimes I do. I don’t go to YouTube that often and I don’t do Facebook, and I don’t use Twitter or any of those.

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Next:
3.2 Would you be interested in being actively engaged in preserving and presenting Slovenian Australian’s culinary heritage? Would you be interested to share your personal experiences about the food by photos, videos and recipes with others via the Internet? Answers.

Other questions:
3.3 How important for you is it to spread the story of Slovenian food prepared by Slovenian Australians across Australia and elsewhere? Answers.

See also:
1 Culinary heritage (see Questions and Answers)
2 Growing and sourcing food (see Questions and Answers)
3 Digital technologies for communicating culinary heritage (see Questions and Answers)
4 Connecting with other Slovenian Australians (see Questions and Answers)
5 Identity (see Questions and Answers)
6 Conclusion (participants’ ideas) (see Questions and Answers)

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This is a website of a research project exploring digital technologies for communicating the culinary heritage of Slovenian Australians in collaboration with the University of Canberra under the 2015 Endeavour Fellowship Programme (PDR).