Last September, I went to Trenton for the first time to apply for a Social Security number. Every time I visit a new place, I make sure to try one of its highest-rated restaurants on Yelp. Of course, Trenton was no exception. As I waited for my Uber to pull in on Nassau Street, bright red filled my phone screen. My anticipation for temporary liberation from Wilcox food grew. One restaurant immediately grabbed my attention: 1911 SmokeHouse Bar-B-Que. Barbeque, the authentic kind, not the hamburgers & hot dogs at Princeton, has long been a family favorite because my parents settled in Texas, a beacon for barbeque fanatics, shortly after their marriage. Naturally, barbeque drew my attention, and this photography project began there.
Every time I walk into 1911 SmokeHouse Bar-B-Que, the musty, charred smell of cooking ribs makes my eyes water a little. But before I can shy away from the smoke and heat, I’m always engulfed by the warm welcome of Mr. Hallett, the Head Chef of the restaurant, and greetings from the employees. In Trenton, New Jersey, 14 hours and 7000 miles away from actual home in Seoul, South Korea, 1911 has become the place I go to see familiar faces and food. Through “Familiar Flavors,” I want to shed light on those people who have let me indulge in a reminder of home. My usual of brisket with candied yams and coleslaw is surely not Galbi or Kimchi-jjigae, my mom’s home specialties, but thanks to the faces in these photographs, it is now as familiar a flavor as any.
This project was done as a class project for VIS213. It captures the 1911 SmokeHouse from every corner and through every window, introducing every character involved in the intricate process of preparing, serving, and eating food.