Food & Nostalgia
Aye Write! Glasgow's Book Festival Event: Writing Competition and Food Quiz
Is your diet different to your Granny’s? Do you remember your school dinners? How has the Glasgow diet changed? How has immigration affected your diet?
“Glasgow Remembered: Food and Nostalgia”, took place on Saturday 13th March in the Mitchell Library, as part of the annual “Aye Write” festival. The event was funded by the ESRC’s Festival of Social Science Programme, the purpose of which is to encourage engagement between academics and the general public. This was achieved through a public writing competition on the theme of food and nostalgia for all age groups and on the day about eighty people attended the event.
The competition was divided into age categories and entrants were asked to write a short essay or poem on their memories of food. It proved very popular and numerous entries were received, of which nineteen were shortlisted. All shortlisted entries were exhibited as posters on the day.
The day began with David Kinloch, a well known Scottish writer and poet, announcing the prize winners. In the 11-17 year category Amy Carnegie came first with “The Ghost Chef” and Liam Bruce, took second place, with “Resistance is Futile.....Would you like sprouts”. For the adult category, Jane Gracey won with “Department Store”, and Ellen Lyons was runner up with “Soup”. Amy received a Sony ebook reader and Jane a dinner for four in Café Gandolfi. Runners- up each collected a £25 book token. Winners were then invited to read their entries to the assembled audience.
Next, we participated in the well known traditional Glaswegian “Jeely Piece” song. For those of you unfamiliar with the Glasgow vernacular, a jeely piece is a jam sandwich. Here is the chorus:
O ye cannae fling pieces oot a twenty-story flat,
Seven-hundred hungry weans will testify to that,
If it’s butter, cheese or jeely, if the breid is plain or pan,
The odds against it reaching earth are ninety-nine to wan.
Singing was followed by storytelling, about no other than “Rab Ha’: The Glasgow glutton.” This culminated in a Scottish food quiz which had been compiled by the staff of the Mitchell Library. The food quiz prize was a selection of cookery books and maw broon wooden spoons. It was a great success and there was intense competition among the teams to win a much coveted “goody bags”, full of tasty morsels such as macaroon bars and tablet.
After all this talk of food, everyone was ready to tuck into a lunch of traditional Scottish fare, scotch broth, sausage and onions, haggis, rich man’s shortcake, custard and we even had some jeely pieces. The catering service at the Herald Cafe in the library was responsible for keeping us from fainting with hunger and as far as we know, succeeded.
We would like to thank Karen Cunningham, Director of the Mitchell Library, whose enthusiasm and support made this event possible and also all her staff who helped with organisation and preparation on the day and the ESRC for funding the event.