Memory and Food

To eat food is to satisfy one of our most fundamental needs, and foods also mark occasions, seasons, and poignant recurrences in our lives. I begin this post with a question: what foods most deeply invoke nostalgia in us? Well, what is nostalgia? The word derives from the blending of two Greek words: νόστος (nóstos), meaning “returning home”, and ἄλγος (álgos), meaning “pain, ache.” (WikiNostalgia causes us to yearn for a moment in our past.  Memories may be evoked by birthday cakes,

sweet corn in the summertime,

or sushi on christmas eve (which is my family’s own quirky tradition).

Yet I am reminded that even photos cannot fully express the memory. As Proust puts it: “. . . the sight of the little madeleine had recalled nothing to my mind before I tasted it; perhaps because I had so often seen such things in the interval, without tasting them . . .” (Swann’s Way).

All photos in this post are subject to creative commons licensing.


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