As I write this New York City is in recovery mode from the raging path of Hurricane Sandy. She brought horrific winds, high waters and widespread damage. Thankfully my roommates and I, and our apartment were unharmed, barely a flickering light. I'm so grateful to have avoided any harm or damage but throughout the storm I've thought about what people will be remembering when all is back to normal and time has passed.
For over a year I've been consuming food memoirs as if they were kernels of buttery popcorn at a suspenseful movie. Due to this I have taken on a strange perspective for how I consider life events, major and minor. As things happen I begin sorting them into chapters of my own imaginary memoir. I debate what will carry enough weight to exist within the "New York Years," if I will ever actually leave New York (I intend to, someday) and what might come after it. When it comes to Sandy I keep going back to the outpouring of food chatter that came about. Nowadays it is our default to share what we eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner - but usually only if it is particularly amazing or interestingly mundane. Sandy brought about full fridge-clearing feasts, warm comfort foods, stress/anxiety munchies and odd flavor combinations shared thanks to Twitter.
At my house we refused to buy bottled water, opting instead to fill empty wine bottles with clean tap water; I baked a chocolate banana bread for the sake of using up ripe bananas and correcting the lack of sweets in the house; Monday night dinner consisted of a first course of banana pancakes then an impromptu second course of Mexican black bean pizza due to a severe protein craving; tonight to rejoice in the calm post Sandy evening we made a feast of steak and pasta with a bright green salad. Food was a crutch and a way to entertain ourselves while waiting for the storm to begin then finally come to pass. In large part thanks to the uneventful effects of Sandy's fury chez moi, it will be the meals I can remember.
I think food plays such an important part of memory because of all its sensory effects - we see, smell, touch, hear and taste as our mouths water and our stomachs yearn. In the coming months I hope to explore memory and memoirs more here on the Culinary Librarian. Here's hoping...