Memorable meals: or making memories of food

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Barbecuing salmon. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014. Shot on iPhone4. Framed using Aviary Ultimate Photo Editor.

Barbecuing salmon. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014. Shot on iPhone4. Framed using Aviary Ultimate Photo Editor.

A few years ago, I read an article about people who photographed their food — all of their food. Every single morsel they planned to pop into their mouths was first documented. The rationale given for some of this was that people were trying to lose weight and that the photographs were an effective food diary; a reminder of exactly how many chocolate chip cookies constituted an afternoon snack.

The article pointed out that this interest/hobby/obsession was only really possible because of phone cameras. More and more people were carrying around with them – as a matter of course – the means for capturing for posterity, literally every bite of food they took.

I also take pictures of food, but the images of my late afternoon cake and latte moments, dinners with friends, or meals cooked by my partner or son (a reminder to all that they CAN COOK) are less a personal food diary than a way of communicating via social media. A shot of my breakfast coffee with the lagoon and Rowing Club building in the background posted on FaceBook told friends I was in Wellington for the weekend, while a shot of my birthday cake was not only a reminder to anyone who had forgotten, but a very public way of thanking my friends who hosted the dinner and baked the cake.

Breakfast coffee, Cafe Eis, Wellington waterfront. Photo: Su Leslie 2011

Breakfast coffee, Cafe Eis, Wellington waterfront. Photo: Su Leslie 2011. Shot on iPhone4

Birthday celebration 2012. A great meal, wonderful friends and the MOST fabulous cake. Photo: Su Leslie 2012. Shot with iPhone.

Birthday celebration 2012. A great meal, wonderful friends and the MOST fabulous cake. Photo: Su Leslie 2012. Shot on iPhone4

While in the UK last year I found myself photographing quite a few of my meals and posting the images on FaceBook. Most were not particularly memorable meals, but because I ate alone quite a lot on that trip, those photographs and accompanying comments and tags were a way of feeling less lonely during events that are normally very social. It also gave me something to do and prompted some quite thoughtful and nostalgia posts.

Fuller's London Pride; a favourite brown drink.

Fuller’s London Pride; a favourite brown drink. Photo: Su Leslie 2013. Shot on iPhone 4, edited with Aviary Ultimate Photo Editor.

I tagged a photo of the one pint of beer I had in England with my partner’s name. I’m not a beer drinker, but we had visited so many pubs together and drunk that particular ale, that the image was a way of saying “I miss you.”

The cake cabinet in an Edinburgh cafe. Photo: Su Leslie 2013. Shot with iPhone4, edited with Aviary Ultimate Photo Editor.

The cake cabinet in an Edinburgh cafe. Photo: Su Leslie 2013. Shot with iPhone4, edited with Aviary Ultimate Photo Editor.

A cabinet full of creamy cakes that I saw in an Edinburgh cafe brought forth a wave of longing to see my grandmother once more. My gran – the quintessential auld Scots wifie – had a terrible sweet tooth, and we spent many afternoons together drinking tea and gossiping over a couple of Carlton’s meringues or chocolate eclairs. She died in 2006, and I still miss her. When I posted the photo, my cousin responded with her own memories of Gran (her great gran) and I felt very connected to my family that day.

Gelato, Borough Market, London. Photo: Su Leslie 2013. Shot with iPhone4, edited with Ultimate Photo Editor.

Gelato, Borough Market, London. Photo: Su Leslie 2013. Shot with iPhone4, edited with Ultimate Photo Editor.

I tagged my son in this photo of gelato I ate at Borough Market. Like beer, icecream is a food I usually only consume when I’m with certain people. With gelato, it’s the boy-child. Like me, he’s a complete foodie and I knew he would have loved Borough Market. Photographing my food and sharing it with him electronically was saying both,  “I miss you” and “next time, we’ll come here together.”

This post was written as part of the Phoneography Challenge at Lens and Pens by Sally. You can see more here.

Here are some other challenge posts I’ve enjoyed:

http://wisnuwidiarta.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/phoneography-challenge-the-phone-as-your-lens-sleeping-on-a-hammock-wannabe/

http://fontsandfrosting.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/phoneography-challenge-still-life/

http://pictograf.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/iphoneography-choice-2/

http://pictograf.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/iphoneography-choice-2/

http://sustainabilitea.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/phoneography-challege-edible-delights/

http://thepalladiantraveler.com/2014/02/24/photography-phoneography-foodie-weekly-phoneography-challenge-food/

http://completelydisappear.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/how-to-see-sun-rising/

http://angelinem.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/phoneography-challenge-architecture-of-the-city/

http://decocraftsdigicrafts.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/phoneography-challenge-challengers-choice-art-deco-weekend-napier/

http://blogagaini.com/2014/02/24/phoneography-challenge-street-photography/

http://nwframeofmind.com/2014/02/24/iphone-monday-2-24-14/

http://firebonnet.com/2014/02/24/phoneography-portraiture-timothy/

http://weliveinaflat.com/blog/phoneography-weekly-kitchen-table/

http://amaltaas.wordpress.com/2014/02/25/phoneography-challenge-your-phone-as-your-lens-challengers-choice-food-fruits/

http://amarnaik.com/2014/02/25/phoneography-challenge-your-phone-as-your-lens-drops/

http://19planets.wordpress.com/2014/02/25/soft-winter-sound-011-february-2014-haigahaibun-for-the-phoneography-challenge/

http://allkindsaeverything.wordpress.com/2014/02/25/phoneography-challenge/

Totally random moment of delight

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Serendipity; the stick-on text I bought yesterday matched the box I found in my "bound to be useful one day" craft box. Photo: Su Leslie 2014

Serendipity; the stick-on text I bought yesterday matched the box I found in my “bound to be useful one day” craft box. Photo: Su Leslie 2014

It was around midnight when I realised I wouldn’t be able to finish the birthday wishes book I was making for my son’s birthday today.

Plan B: give him a teaser gift to buy myself time. I found this little box amongst my trove of craft stuff that’s too good to throw out, and then discovered it was exactly the same colour as the stick-on letters I was using to embellish the book. Suddenly a boring little box looked like the perfect vessel for a secret.

Woohoo; I could put my little teaser in the box, sneak it downstairs and actually go to bed.

A moment of delight, and relief.

Meghan over at Firebonnet hosts a Random Moments of Delight challenge. You can find out more here.

phoning this one in …

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Happy Birthday boy-child

The wishes book; still a work in progress. Photo: Su Leslie 2014

The wishes book; still a work in progress. Photo: Su Leslie 2014

The wishes book is done (for now), gifts have been given, hugs received. Now it’s time for cake …

So in the words of Dave Dobbyn (Slice of Heaven, 1986)

Hey, I got a lot of faith in you
I’ll stick with you kid- that’s the bottom line

Down to the wire

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The boy-child's wishes book - or at least bits of it! Photo: Su Leslie 2014

The boy-child’s wishes book – or at least bits of it! Photo: Su Leslie 2014

It’s a good thing I work well under pressure. The boy-child’s birthday is tomorrow and I’m still working on the wishes book. Have wine, chocolate,  a sharp craft knife …

Photo: Su Leslie 2014

Photo: Su Leslie 2014

… and music.

I’ve finished counting down to my son’s sixteenth birthday. Tomorrow he can leave school, leave home, learn to drive, have sex, get a tattoo or live with a partner.

However, it’s more likely that he’ll forget to set his alarm, get up late but still take an extremely long shower, forget his lunch, need a ride to the bus stop and send me a text wishing me a good day. Because, it may be his birthday, but he’s still my boy.

What’s gone forever

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The boy-child and his grandfather, January 1999. Photo: Su Leslie

The boy-child and his grandfather, January 1999. Photo: Su Leslie

Today is my parents’ in law’s 54th wedding anniversary. Both are unwell and may not even be aware that today is a special day for them.

Though not particularly hands-on grandparents, they have nevertheless been part of the boy-child’s day to day life since we returned to NZ from the UK when he was a toddler.

For the first few years, my in-laws generously let us take over their house and garden for the boy-child’s birthday parties. After that came many years of family birthday dinners – followed, in the last few years, by somewhat fleeting visits to share some cake, and deliver a card and cash.

But no more. A fall last April changed my father-in-law’s life forever, and with that, the lives of everyone in the family. Taken-for-granted traditions and rituals no longer make sense, and come the boy-child’s sixteenth birthday in a few days, we will be trying to find new ways to be a family.

I’m counting down to my son’s sixteenth birthday. Here is what has gone before:

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/shining-through/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/23/five-days-to-go-heres-where-it-all-gets-manic/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/22/six-word-saturday-2-oh-oh-sweet-child-of-mine/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/20/funny-friday-the-things-kids-say/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/down-memory-lane/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/18/wordless-wednesday-babies-love-books/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/shoe-down-the-river-stories-and-other-backwaters-of-family-history/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/what-sort-of-star-are-you/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/song-for-sunday-the-boy-childs-early-taste-in-music/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/15/happy-valentines-day/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/yellow-is-the-colour-of-happiness/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/wordless-wednesday-bright-eyes/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/10-things-tuesday-hes-ready-to-leave-home-when/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/on-writing-wishes-and-not-re-inventing-the-wheel/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/six-word-saturday-who-said-boys-cant-wear-pink/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/when-two-heads-are-so-much-better-than-one/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/06/family-photo-friday-kids-no-more/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/05/three-weeks-out-and-ive-organised-nothing/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/04/on-the-importance-of-grandparents/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/on-counting-and-gender-stereotypes/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/02/getting-over-the-grumps/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/weekly-photo-challenge-object/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/six-word-saturday-on-being-allowed-a-weekend-sleep-in/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/on-raising-children-and-not-getting-enough-sleep/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/back-to-school-for-the-last-time/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/wordless-wednesday-remembering-birthdays-past-and-counting-down-to-a-big-one/

Shining through

Forever reaching; the boy-child always has something new in his sights. Photo: Tony Gray 1999

Forever reaching; the boy-child always has something new in his sights. Photo: Tony Gray 1999

School seems to be going well for the boy-child this year. He’s discovered a passion for business studies and this evening he initiated a conversation about law school.

Whatever he does, I hope he never loses his sense of self and his capacity for wonder.

I’m counting down to my son’s 16th birthday. Here is what has gone before:

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/23/five-days-to-go-heres-where-it-all-gets-manic/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/22/six-word-saturday-2-oh-oh-sweet-child-of-mine/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/20/funny-friday-the-things-kids-say/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/down-memory-lane/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/18/wordless-wednesday-babies-love-books/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/shoe-down-the-river-stories-and-other-backwaters-of-family-history/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/what-sort-of-star-are-you/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/song-for-sunday-the-boy-childs-early-taste-in-music/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/15/happy-valentines-day/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/yellow-is-the-colour-of-happiness/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/wordless-wednesday-bright-eyes/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/10-things-tuesday-hes-ready-to-leave-home-when/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/on-writing-wishes-and-not-re-inventing-the-wheel/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/six-word-saturday-who-said-boys-cant-wear-pink/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/when-two-heads-are-so-much-better-than-one/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/06/family-photo-friday-kids-no-more/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/05/three-weeks-out-and-ive-organised-nothing/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/04/on-the-importance-of-grandparents/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/on-counting-and-gender-stereotypes/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/02/getting-over-the-grumps/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/weekly-photo-challenge-object/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/six-word-saturday-on-being-allowed-a-weekend-sleep-in/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/on-raising-children-and-not-getting-enough-sleep/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/back-to-school-for-the-last-time/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/wordless-wednesday-remembering-birthdays-past-and-counting-down-to-a-big-one/

Five days to go … here’s where it all gets manic

su and tom funny

The boy-child’s 16th is only a few days away. Between now and then (as well as working, chauffeuring, cooking, eating, sleeping and breathing), I also have to work on the wishes book, organise a cake, remember to phone my brother who turns 50 today and visit my in-laws who will spend their 54th anniversary apart on Tuesday because neither of them is well and father-in-law is in a nursing home. Am almost grateful my parents are divorced, as it would be have been their 58th wedding anniversary on Tuesday as well.

I’m going to need — coffee, chocolate and music … lots of it!