Preface

“There is too much food in most food writing now – too much food and too little that goes further. . . . what we want from it is ever-broadening metaphors of common life.”
Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, April 4, 2005

▪ Why a blog on childhood food memories?

Food and memoir go together like bread and butter. Memoirs about childhood and coming of age have been popular for some time, while interest in food grows ever stronger. Food memoirs have the power to go far beyond the mere foodie-ism alluded to by Adam Gopnik.

The stories I collect give insight into how profoundly food links children to their early relationships. They reveal that food does much more than nourish children’s bodies – it is an expression of their place in the family and the world.

▪ What is special about this food blog?

Many people are interested in the food memories of well-known food professionals such as restaurant reviewer Ruth Reichl or chef Linda Bastianich. But I am equally captivated by the memories of lively and fascinating but anonymous people such as those who tell their stories in Archaeology of Taste. Not only are they people with whom readers will find much in common, most of the food and meals they describe will also be familiar. In some instances, though, they will be unfamiliar in ways that are startling. But rarely are the memories about “precious” food with unpronounceable names, brought from afar and consumed only by elites. Instead they are of everyday food which is made important by the way it figures in the story tellers’ lives.

I have identified the subjects only by a first name and age. Their memories were captured in lengthy interviews, on recordings transcribed word for word. Although I edited them for length and coherence, I have made sure each narrative presents the narrator’s words just as they spoke them.

I have chosen the narrators – and will continue to choose them – based on their love of food, their personal vitality, their diversity of background, their story-telling ability, and the strength of their wish to participate. Each person portrays a different age, set of family circumstances, and region of the country.

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