By S. Andrew Stowe, Anderson University (SC)
‘Food For Thought: Random Access Memory’ A/Some Response(s) to Kat Stevenson’s ‘Same Story, Three Ways’
As I write, I’m moved to consider \\consideration\\ and the role that food plays in li(fe)/ves). Having been largely socially distanced for 4 months or so, I’ve spent a great deal more time considering my cooking practice than I do at some other times. This allows for appreciation of Kat Stevenson’s thoughtful, multiply-mediated work regarding her relationship(s) with food.
Like food -taken in bites- Stevenson’s work opens doors for many different conversations, relationships, family, self-sufficiency, culture and some more. The different media and the narratives that they carry function as doorways, but so too do the media that propel these discussions. Food -all at once- is a vastly recognizable signal of identity.
Possessing. Crafting. & Consuming.
marks of culture, all.
Stevenson speaks candidly about her relationships to food, the food’s history and the way that the food was consumed. The stories were engaging and timely. As an assignment, tasking students with writing with food is inventive and vastly open to a variety of identifications and remediations.
At the time of this writing, my school is at the precipice of the fall semester after having finished the spring remotely. For me, that means I’ve been home a lot and that means cooking more meals than I normally would. Though some days were challenging, I’ve taught my daughter to make toast, and coffee, and she is wanting to learn how to cook eggs. These are memories that I treasure.
I grew up in a working home where my mom worked late so we often ate meals at restaurants. Thus, I really appreciate the Sunday beef roasts, sandwiches and other food objects that contribute to the formation of my present being. September never passes before my father and I have discussed trends in cooking turkey.
I took to cooking in my teens in the dawn of the Food Network and worked in kitchens during high school and college. During the school year I’m an intensely practical cook and I take little (but some) delight from the practice but appreciate the edible outcomes. I learned to cook working in restaurants through high school and college. I refined this into home cookery thereafter.
One of the more iconic foods of my formative years was my father making SPAM sandwiches in the microwave at the beach. The food was tasty and a real slice of life. A Warholian-icon of narrative memory. These sandwiches are best served when it’s hot outside. Bread, mayonnaise, American cheese, SPAM sliced and microwaved until just short of crisp at the edges.
It’s a sandwich. It leaves me to appreciate that we were able to go to the beach. It too causes me to appreciate the practical aspects of motel cooking. More treasure of memory & doorways for introspection.
SPAM Sandwiches in the style of Don Stowe:
- Wheat Bread (Whatever is on hand will do)
- SPAM (Not low sodium…yeah, it is salty)
- American Cheese
- Mayonnaise (Miracle Whip or Dukes mayonnaise )
Slice spam thin, heat in microwave on paper towel until edges are slightly crisp. Make sandwich. Eat sandwich.
“If I do have any advice for anybody, any final thought, if I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. The extent to which you can walk in somebody else’s shoes–or at least eat their food–it’s a plus for everybody. Open your mind. Get up off the couch. Move.”
– Anthony Bourdain (Bariso, 2019)
Bariso, J. (2019, January 02). This Beautiful Anthony Bourdain Quote Is a Masterpiece of Emotional Intelligence. Retrieved August 05, 2020, from https://www.inc.com/justin-bariso/this-beautiful-anthony-bourdain-quote-is-a-masterpiece-of-emotional-intelligence.html