Food as reminiscence

Although consuming food is done in the moment, right now, mouth chomping and mind activated, all of us know that food connects with memory and emotions. Lots of you will recognize this place: Great American Donut Shop in Bowling Green, locally known and beloved as GADS. My family lived in BG for almost a decade while I was a full time professor in Folk Studies there. We have many happy memories in Bowling Green, especially since my two sons did a lot of their growing up there.

We get back to town every few years and visit WKU and colleagues, old friends, and return to some favorite haunts. Most of those favorites are food establishments, highlighted by Yuki and GADS. We always make sure to step into the tiny little retail floor of the donut shop to get the tasty treats. We all agree that, for us, they’re they best donuts anywhere. Are there better donuts by many different measures? Sure, but that’s valuing them according to specific criteria like sweetness, flavor, appearance, texture, what have you. On those grounds, we think GADS is pretty great, but it’s more than that.

GADS gives us the whole bundle: donuts we love and the familiar surroundings that hosted lots of happy times in our young family’s life. Going to GADS, we get lots more than yummy donuts. We get to remember and feel things that made us who we were when we were all younger . . . and when we all fit more easily at one of those small booths for four.

Toby and Tris are a lot bigger now, but they still love their GADS.

Food is definitely about more than nourishing the body. It’s part of who we are and who we have been, and we can often summon that with a bite.