Food and the way we eat has always been closely related to our cultural identity. Our roots and families define how we cook, shop and eat. In this day and age when migration is a common phenomenon, more and more people make their homes in new countries. For some it is an escape from economical hardship, for others- from uninspiring surroundings, and some come to taste a new culture for a few years. Newcomers might learn the language, adapt to a new culture, but certain aspects of identity remain the same. One of them is our relationship with food. Living in multicultural Scotland I have been a frequent visitor in various local food shops catering specifically for immigrants from Poland, Middle East, China, Russia etc. I am interested in the relationships in between food and homesickness, particular dishes and nostalgia, taste and memories.
Cooking is a particular ritual performed not only to produce dinner or supper, but also to feed the emotional hunger, that could be created by being far from one's own culture. The specialised grocery shops, parcels being sent from home with traditional sweets or biscuits, semi- legal vans crossing Europe selling foodstuffs from the boot, my suitcase exceeding the weight limit at the airport because of Lithuanian sausage and buckwheat- these are beautiful and sad glimpses into the world of nostalgic eating.
The people I have interviewed for my project have all shared more than just lists of dishes, they all seemed to be transported to their childhood, sharing their most personal memories. The visual story I am telling is a story of escaping from one's usual and comfortable surroundings, making new home and life, and then escaping back through a plateful of nostalgia.
Feature and interview on Away Home on Calvert Journal here.
Limited edition signed prints commissioned by Street Level Photoworks Glasgow are now available at their shop and also online here.