Food Memory: Many Cupcakes for E’s Wedding

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One of my college roommates, E, got married 2.5 years ago, and this picture of bags of marching cupcakes down the hall in her home reminds me of how much food plays an integral part in social rituals. While flowers and lights, dresses and invites, all play a huge role in the way a wedding happens, the dinner or snacks, drinks and dessert that are served are almost always planned down to a tiny margin for error. E chose cupcakes for portability (they didn’t need to be cut!) and, in this case, because they tasted amazing. It was fun to be a part of the backstage for her wedding; at the time, I was probably far more blissfully ignorant of how hard she’d been working than I should have been, but I got my comeuppance 1.5 years later, when I found myself biting into my own cake samples and choosing what would be served at my wedding.

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The Challenge

IMG_3518I got married in 2015. I did a lot of other things too, but one of the cooler aspects of getting married was the fact that I asked people to write a favorite recipe on the back of their RSVP cards.

I didn’t inherently want to try three different versions of chicken pot pie; I was just interested in the people I know and love, and the recipes that mattered to them. I also didn’t really think that very many people would do it, so it was sort of a one-off “cute wedding thing.”

I was wrong: of the 70-odd invites I sent, more than 30 people sent me a response with a recipe. Some of them were labeled as heirloom recipes, some were labeled as quick and easy, some of them were eventually incorporated into my wedding gifts!

There were so many stories that were related to food that I knew were just begging to be told. I also am a recovering processed-food junkie and thought it might be good to give myself a bit of a challenge to keep me away from the frozen pizzas. A storytelling and cooking challenge for 2016.

So here it is (subject to potential modification). In 2016, I will:

  • Make all 35 recipes. I want to reach out to whoever sent the recipe in some way to let them know I made it and see if they have any stories to share about it.
  • Write about the experience of making the recipes and any modifications I made, especially modifications to save packaging (a pet cause of mine) or make the meals healthier (I will be honest if healthiness sacrifices flavor).
  • Have at least 4 dinner potlucks where I get to try out some of these recipes on others, and start building my community here (most of the recipes are from friends and family who are far away).

So that is it: 35 recipes, 35ish blog entries, and 4 dinner potlucks. Can I pull it off? No idea. But you can bet that I’ll give it my best effort.