If you had to pick one story about food to record, what would you pick? Today, the Museum of Science hosted the Let’s Talk about Food Festival. The main stage wasn’t incredibly interesting (smoothies?! what is the country’s obsession with smoothies?), but I had an energizing experience participating in the Kitchen Conversations project. It’s like Story Corp, but about food. You add your name to the list, sign the waiver, and then putter about until it’s your turn to step into the funky little booth to share your thoughts on a favorite recipe, a memory, learning experience, growing/ making food, a challenge, or any of several other options. There’s a nice person holding a mic and injecting appropriate questions when you stall out, and plenty of non-claustrophobic soundproofing.
I had an awful time selecting a story. Too many of my experiences are related to food. The chocolate birthday cake turned into pseudo-trifle incident, the toddler tasting all the apples, the beetle inside the raspberries, eating weeds, discovering fennel, eating raw scallops, producing a perfectly presentable souffle, schlepping hot cans of pears and applesauce down to the basement to can them, slicing never-ending corn on the cob off the cob to freeze one summer (that was not my idea), the real reason I don’t like lettuce very much, pho for breakfast at 5 am one morning in HCMC, intense tajines in Morocco, perfect fresh hot French bread after a run through sugarcane fields in Guadeloupe, a revolutionary raw corn bean salad at my mentor’s apartment, and one brilliant plum kuchen in a hidden garden for brunch one day, teaching friend M to like asparagus… you get the idea.
In the end, under some slight pressure of stage fright, I decided to talk about gluten sensitivity and the challenge it has been. Nothing revolutionary, just mutterings about having to change my diet from what I was raised on (solid whole wheat bread and granola) to new staples, like corn tortillas and sweet potatoes. There are many challenges to overcome– from having to accept that you can’t have the blasted ice cream cone to being paranoid about any food that you did not prepare. When they edit it, I would love to hear how it comes out along with the other stories recorded. The stories are supposed to eventually be posted on the Let’s Talk About Food website. Check it out in a few weeks. In the meantime, feel free to leave your story in the comments or contact me if you’d like to write up a blog post length piece to post as a guest blogger.