Monday 30 May 2011

We are what we eat? - 'The Edible Archive'

I just got an e-mail through on the Archives NRA list from the Scottish Council on Archives.  As part of the Culture and Diversity 'What's your story?' theme of Archives Awareness 2011 the SCA have decided to create an archival cookbook.  Intrigued? - 

The idea is that the general public, archives users, and archives, will contribute recipes from personal cookbooks and from the archives.  These recipes will be compiled and used to create a cookbook.  Going on the belief that the food we eat reflects who we are, where we've been and where we live, the cookbook will reveal aspects of our family and our national history and culture.  "We're hopeful that The Edible Archive will represent the diversity of the regions, communities and archival collections across Scotland."

I love the idea of compiling a cookbook based on a mixture of contributions from people's personal cookbooks and from archives!  If I looked at the type of food that me and my husband cook then I'm not sure what it says much about our national history and culture as most of the food we cook is Mexican, Pan-Asian or Italian.  Although maybe that's me having far too limited an idea of national culture and history.  Maybe what our cooking says about us is a more general reflection of the internationalism and globalisation of our way of life - the wonderful chances we have to use ingredients from all over the world, to eat out in restaurants from all around the world.  I know for other friends what they cook now often reflects what they grow, or what they can buy that's in season - another reflection of attitudes of the time.  So yes, actually, on reflection I can see that the more thought I put into it the more things I could come up with that show how our cooking represents ideas of national history and culture.  Also there are still many recipes I cook, even if only very occasionally, that remind me of my family for example mince & tatties, scotch pancakes, macaroni cheese, chickpea & tomato curry, Cullen skink - all these have so many associated memories for me that even if I only cook the occasionally they still bring the memories flooding back.

Now I'm just wondering if you have to live in Scotland to participate? Could expats be included?!

The SCA are also planning to have feasts using all the recipes chosen for the cookbook - sounds fantastic!  So if you live in Scotland please get involved!  Whether you work in an archive and have a favourite recipe in a collection, or whether you have a favourite personal recipe, from a cookbook or passed down through the generations, then you can e-mail them to (they also ask that if you have any information about the history of the recipe, or an image, then to include that).  

Submissions to be in by 1 July 2011.

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