Tuesday, January 10, 2012

More Finds at the Local Antique Shop - Food Memories

There is always a story behind what we eat (and what we don't eat). 

In December, my daughter and I were admiring the gingerbread houses at a local pastry shop. The shop is down the street from her dance class and I bring her in once in awhile so she can get a treat. The gingerbread houses were part of a contest. My daughter and I voted for our favorites and this entered us into a contest to win a free tray of pastries. Above is the winning tray - a plate of pastries that I won for my friends. (Thanks Frederick's Bakery!)  BUT, I have Celiac disease and can't touch the stuff. I think the last time I won a raffle was for Yankee tickets when I was in high school. My Dad  gave them away because we couldn't travel into the city to use them. The treats do look delicious and I'm awaiting my friends' visit right now for some tea and company, AND so I can give away my treats like a pair of Yankee tickets... but I digress...

Bring up any particular food and I think I'd have a story about it that represents my life at that particular moment: From the Three Musketeers bar that I ate on the way home to placate my sweet tooth while the Frederick's tray sat beside me; (Yes, the candy is gluten free.) To the salami sandwich I had for lunch yesterday, which my husband proudly invented for me when I was ill last year... there are stories for almost everything I eat - when I first discovered the food; what I like about it and why.

On my drive home from the bakery I began thinking about all of the snapshots of food that I have in my photo albums. I have one of me laughing as a teen with my mouth closed tight full of cake. It's one of my favorites because my hair looked good that day. I have another one of me holding up a birthday cake that I shared with my aunt because her birthday is around the same time as mine. I have one of me cutting cake with my husband at our wedding... In fact, I realize now that I think about it that most of the food images I can remember involve birthday cake or sweets. I guess that most people must document birthdays and cake events better than any other event in their lives.

The black and white images in this post are orphan photos that I found in antique shops to illustrate my "Life in Context" project with professional organizer Sue West. Part one of the project focuses on food. All of the images involve meals at the table, foods half way to the eater's mouth or piled on plates. They are very informal images, capturing a moment in time and illustrating a shared human experience. [hmmm...There is no cake.]

It wasn't too hard to seek out images of food for illustration. The images are plentiful, yet we give them little thought. I'm going to try to go dig mine up today and see if they tell some sort of story about my life - a tale of who I am through what I eat.

How are you documenting your food memories? Do any of these images kick off memories for you about food? What role does food play in your life? How do the choices you make reflect your communities and people in your life? Have you won any food contests lately?

(This one is my favorite!)

Share your food memories at https://www.facebook.com/groups/lifeincontext/ and look for these images in the upcoming Life in Context Food Memories Workbook!


  1. And now the lovely pastries are all gone...

  2. Again reminding me today to look for those pictures of my food memories! What a wonderful scrapbook section they will make! Thank you Melissa!

  3. I love the idea of making them a scrapbook page Judith. (And the book, with your story included, is coming soon...just a wee bit more work to go.)