Personal Work, 2018
Our favourite foods say a lot about memory and comfort. The responses I had when I asked my friends were telling:
‘My mum’s aubergine curry’
‘Grilled sardines I had on the beach in Malaga - so fresh and salty’
‘That pie and mash you made last week’
The last one may have been a kind lie from my flatmate, but you can see the patterns. Food is nurturing, and our favourite foods speak of the times we felt most cared for and loved.
If pressed on my favourite food, I would have to say a blackcurrant and apple crumble, served with custard steeped in blackberry leaves. My boyfriend, Michael, and I made it together using plants from my step-dad’s allotment. It was my boyfriend’s first time at my family home in Sheffield, the first time he’d met my mum. He and my step-dad bonded over a love of home-grown produce and pickling, so we walked down to the allotment to pick things for our dinner. We salt-baked bright purple beetroots, made a kaleidoscope-fresh salad and fried up some seabass from the local fishmongers. Making the meal together was joyous, with everyone contributing something. But the look of delight on my step-dad’s face as he tasted the ‘leafy custard’ was wonderful - not to mention that crumbly topping and the tartness of the currants. Remembering that dish makes me feel accepted, warm and - most importantly - very full.
Food is our way of telling others that we care about them, of expressing and accepting love. So here’s to many more favourite meals, making delicious memories with friends and family that you can recreate whenever you need to.