Food Identity

Food is our Identity

Recipes have been handed down for generations. Measurements have changed, we’ve become more accurate and our culinary society has streamlined the recipe we know today. Pictures are something the next generation will receive with their recipe books, possibly on discs. If you are lucky enough, you may have acquired a beautiful old hand-written, food stained recipe collection from someone in your family. This is a priceless thing to own. The above is a page from my great-grandmothers book. She painstakingly numbered the pages, included a table of contents along with measurements, just like a real book. She knew her knowledge was valuable. In fact, it was. My own grandmother made Mango Chutney many times, though, I am not sure if she used this recipe exactly, it was something that when it was on the table, it was family tradition.

This is something quite shocking that I just found out. Did you know that the women in Auschwitz in their bunks at night talked about food? They talked about their recipes and how they made them. There was actually a cookbook written on cloth, bound together with needle and thread, made from that concentration camp. The book, Memory’s Kitchen, is about these women and their cookbook. Can you just picture this? It absolutely shocked me and my heart went out to those women. It was something that bonded them, something so simple as the food in their lives. Food is a powerful identity marker. It comes from our childhood, and it creates our identity. It is one of the most powerful things that shape our life. It means life. Home. Family. Community. Cooking makes a house a home. At this time of year, when we celebrate with some old recipes and the way someone special made something, think of other foods you can make that can connect you with previous generations in your family – yes you can revise them to healthier versions. Hold onto your identity through food.

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