Today, we present to you Brandanew’s first creative co-creation project, of shared memories: The Simple Food Memories Project, curated and conceptualized by Ashwati, Founding Editor, Brandanew and Upasna.
The Indian sub-continent struggles plenty with its definition of culture. Is it something that is thousands of years old, or that which is found in the by-lanes of big cities? Is it something we must hold on to, or that which assimilates influences like a flowing river? What is culture for? Defining who we are, or a mere articulation of that what is observed? How is culture passed on? Through language, music, opinions or just simple memories? As we thought about these questions, we felt overwhelmed by how expansive this seemed.
It was time to minimize and simplify. What was at the core of our cultural influences growing up, we asked each other, across time zones on Internet operated Face timing possibilities. Soon, we heard ourselves sharing stories of what our mothers would often say. Learn how to make this- or how will you survive when I die? Learn how to make this- now you’re married. Or the consistent, what did you cook today? In India we find ourselves talking to mothers who are already on the next meal planning while we try and go through the one at hand. Whether it was about special festivities, birthdays, holidays or just mere evening conversations, food was the focal point. And as we think through the 30 something years of our existence, our associations with childhood also seem laced with memories around food.
Simple comfort food that evokes feelings of deep passion, love and richness, also reigniting childhood memories
While mothers married in their twenties and learned from mother in laws and others spending twenty hours in the kitchen, our individual abodes led us to follow YouTube and Tarla Dalals. They had all the right ingredients, recipes and tips, but they were like Chemistry experiments. Use a tea spoon not a table spoon. Black cardamom not green. This was followed by amateurs utilizing the power of YouTube and Blogging tools coming up with powerful imagery and fake accents. Sometimes even the imagery was doubtful, but they came in handy at 6:30 pm when mothers were away and the table empty. It was convenient, fast and resourceful. And yet, it didn’t carry the warmth of the food. Or the comfort of Maggie Noodles on a rainy afternoon back from school, when the mothers weren’t home yet.
The Simple Food Memories Project was conceptualized as an attempt to put the comfort back in food. It is a collection of Simple Food Memories of people who share their love and stories with us. The recipes are not just a list of 5 ingredients, but take a step deeper into the process of creating them. We aim to bring drama, love and connection through conversations and stories that add a rich texture to our food. This is the cultural legacy that we document and co-create.
What Stories Does the Simple Food Memories Project include?
We will focus on simple, easy to make comfort food that evokes feelings of deep passion, love and richness, also reigniting childhood memories. The recipes must belong to the Indian subcontinent.
Whose Stories Does the Simple Food Memories Project cover?
It is being curated by a spark of mirth and warm conversations with mother’s sister in law, and Kamla aunty’s niece and Arjun Bhaiya’s Bhabhi’s sister’s friend from Coorg. Also, the memory you introduce us to!
How Can I Contribute to the Simple Food Memories Project?
Please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop us a line on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+. We are brand new on most networks, so don’t hesitate to follow us and be friends :). We are currently accepting submissions.
What is the Submission Process?
Submit a few lines and recommend yourself or someone you know for an interview. Our team will contact you in case we find a compelling reason to include your Food Memory in our project. Please be aware that this is not competition for the best food recipe there is, but instead focused on the simplicity of home food which has a comforting factor and evokes nostalgia. You just need to write a few lines and tell is why yours is special!
What Happens If My Food Memory is Selected?
We send you a postcard with an image of the Happy Dance that we will specially perform in your honor. We will also send you an invite for an interview that we will document (on a Blog, Podcast or even a Video). This will be included in our publicly available archives for posterity. And, if it moves us to tears, we will feature you in our yet to be released New York Times bestseller (on the curated memories of course).We will also make you famous on all our social channels by our exclusive features.
Your food-y soul-sisters,
Upasna & Ashwati
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