Eating and Memory

Way back in August, I put out a call for help in prepping the seminar I'm teaching this semester, "Composing a Shared Meal: Food, Ethics, and Community." Many of you shared wonderful suggestions, and I apologize that I haven't been better about updating you with how the semester has gone. I'm happy to offer reflections if people are understand.

Regardless, now I'm back to ask for help with yet another seminar that I may be teaching in the spring.  This one is going to be focused more on writing and oral history, with a tentative title of "Eating and Memory: Writing Oral Histories of Food." (I tried to get away form the ubiquitous Pithy Title [colon] Descriptive Phrase Formula, I really did, but I just couldn't escape.)

Here's a blurb I've written up about it:

We’ve all heard the phrase “you are what you eat.” This seminar examines that idea from all angles, considering how identity and culture are tied up with diet, how what we and our families have eaten in the past shapes who we become, and how memory can shape our understanding of ourselves. This class is about stories and food. We’ll share our own stories, listen to the stories of others, and write and record the stories we encounter.  Through this class, you’ll learn some oral history technique, and will have the opportunity to capture the food memories of your own family—whether of your parents, grandparents, or others in your community. At the end of the semester, we’ll produce a tangible piece of history that contains the shared stories—whether written or recorded through audio or video—of our seminar’s participants. Come prepared to write, reflect, share, think, and create together! (and sometimes we may do a little eating, too).

So, as I think about a syllabus, I want to collect essays, interviews, audio pieces, maybe even videos that do a bang-up job of revealing the emotion, humor, and humanity of people's memories about food.

Can you help me in this collection effort?



  1. I want to take this class! Not sure this is exactly related, but I just learned about this and thought of you:

  2. SMF or Sarah, My FriendNovember 14, 2011 at 9:48 PM

    I want to take this, too! Sadly, I'll be a few 1000 miles away....

  3. Here's an article that your descrip made me think of:

  4. Wish you could all be with me for the class, Julia, SMF, and hbr! How well we would all learn together and from each other. I'll try to share the class with you all, from afar, through readings and shared reflections, for sure.


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