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Food & Memory:
The Personal and the Political

Those who participated in the 2022 Symposium know that one of the most popular proposed topics for the 2025 OFS was “Food & Memory.” Although it lost out to “The Elements,” we’d like to explore some aspects of food and memory in our first Kitchen Table Conversation of the 2022/23 season.

A reflective topic for reflective times! Looking at memoirs and other personal writings, such as diary entries or other private messages; ruminations on food and its preparation generally, meant for the kitchen and table; or more political writings that explore the social and cultural impact of food, we will consider how these works share their authors’ worldviews, building bridges to understandings beyond our personal experience.

This event has been organised and will be moderated by OFS Trustee Chair Cathy Kaufman. She will welcome Laura Shapiro and Thom Eagle.

Laura Shapiro says about herself: "I'm a culinary historian who focuses -- monomaniacally, I admit -- on the relationship between women and cooking. I had vowed never to write a food memoir, but to my surprise I found myself nervously wriggling around in that genre while working on the Afterword to my most recent book, What She Ate."

Thom Eagle, one of the UK’s leading voices in cookery and fermentation, is a writer, chef and educator, formerly of Darsham Nurseries in Suffolk and London’s Littleduck but currently cooking and teaching in Margate, Kent. He is the author of two critically acclaimed books, Summer’s Lease and First, Catch, which was shortlisted for the Andre Simon Food Book of the Year and won Debut Food Book at the Fortnum and Mason’s Awards.

By the way: any idea which essay this word cloud is based on? One hint: it is very much related to the topic.

Zoom Event Details

20th September 2022
5:00 pm BST

Reading list

Here are two pieces offering a more general introduction to food memories

Here is Thom’s article At the Table

Consciously writing for a transcontinental, multicultural readership, Chitrita Banerji engages with Indian and especially Bengali food in a deeply personal way. Here is a paper by Sucharita Sarkar on Banerji’s writing. 

And, for a highly academic approach for those willing to torture themselves


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