Food tells stories as vividly as words and pictures.
How can you learn about India, for example? Read a book. Or, better, brave Delhi’s Chandni Chowk and try a jalebi so fresh that it still spits hot oil. How can you learn about the USA? Watch a movie. Or, better, buy a hot dog from a wisecracking vendor in the shadow of a Manhattan skyscraper. How can you learn about Singapore? Go on Wikipedia. Or, better, slurp spicy broth at a steamy quayside hawker centre.
Food doesn’t just tell you about places; it also tells you about people. This is because everyone, whoever they are, comes from a place, or (if they are lucky) places. Food, place and people are entwined. The best stories are those which combine all three strands.
Origin Stories explores this connection.
The project begins with the idea that food can have a biographical quality. Memories of taste are as strong as memories of sound or light. What we ate as children, or at home, or where we grew up, or with our friends… memories of these things anchor us to our identity, even when other forces try to push us off course.
Origin Stories invites food lovers from around the world to tell us food stories that mean something special to them. In this series of videos and essays, we will learn about national staples, regional signatures, village favourites and even confections unique to specific households. The goal is simple: to shed light on the amazing diversity of world food while at the same time celebrating the fact that food – perhaps more thananything else – offers common ground between all people and communities everywhere.
Origin Stories paints an unusual picture of the world; a map composed not of borders and gridlines, but of flavours and recipes. The project is about roots, in one sense. We want contributors to show off the food that, to them, represents where they come from. But in another senseOrigin Stories is also about what ultimately grows from those roots: the keener enjoyment of life that comes from tasty food, entertaining stories, and a good understanding of others.
Bon voyage – and bon appetite!