Gastronomy for the End of the World
Recently I attended a virtual conference in Poland that thoughtfully explored nostalgia and food from different academic disciplines. It was titled "2nd International Interdisciplinary Conference - Food and Memory" April 21-22, 2023 organized by InMind Support and led by Professor Wojciech Owczarski – University of Gdańsk, Poland and Professor Polina Golovátina-Mora – NTNU, Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
My presentation was showing the happy side of the end of the world scenario through a few SF stories and their foodways/food systems. These were some of the SF stories examined - Don't Look Up, The Road, The Last of Us, and "Bread of Life" a short written story.
ABSTRACT from conference
Title: "Food, Nostalgia, and Survival: The Impact of Memory in Apocalyptic, Post-Apocalyptic, and Destroyed Earth Stories"
The end of the world, or Earth as we know it, does not mean we have to stop salivating over food and beverages we once enjoyed. In some science fiction storytelling where things have fallen into TEOTWAWKI times, also known in prepper lingo as the end of the world as we know it, characters often reminisce about what was once easily prepared, purchased, and consumed for sustenance and enjoyment. In this paper, I will examine a few science fiction stories in which food and beverages are a vehicle for memories in apocalypse, post-apocalypse, and post-earth living scenarios. For example, in the movie adaptation of the book by Cormac McCarthy, The Road, a can of Coke is a nostalgic reminder of life before the onset of daily climate devastation and dangerous living. In "Bread of Life," a short story by Beth Cato, bread sold on a space outpost is a reminder of one's past cultural and culinary experiences on Earth before the alien invasion. The video game adapted into a tv series, The Last of Us, is another example of foodways that reminds one of a time before quarantines and fear of humans commandeered by a mutant fungus. In these and other science fiction stories, I'll discuss familiar food and beverages that appear to reflect characters' past identities and way of life, now only accessible through memory or unexpected, surprising circumstances.
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Tiff Graham (TiGra) experimenting with ideas