PRT230 – Documenting the Food in Our Lives

This week we’re talking about documenting our connections to food (just in time for Thanksgiving)…

The Panelists

If you want, you can also right click this link to save the show to your computer manually.


Big Picture Classes Click here to see special offers from Big Picture Classes!

The Paperclipping Membership Click here to learn about a membership!

Picks of the Week

(Affiliate links wherever possible.)

Feedback and Reviews

Please take a moment to leave us feedback on the iTunes directory here.

How to subscribe…

Want to make sure you never miss a new installment of the Paperclipping Roundtable?

Subscribe in iTunes (it’s free!) and you’ll automatically download the newest installment when it’s released. Click on this link:

Subscribe in iTunes

Or you can always manually subscribe to the Paperclipping Roundtable RSS Feed.

  • UnapologeticallyTracey

    Great topic! This episode made me hungry and got me very excited for Thanksgiving.

    I scrapbook about food A LOT, since some of the events I scrapbook annually are centered around food. Most notably, I scrap the visit my friends and I make each year to my hometown’s pumpkin festival (The Circleville Pumpkin Show), and nearly every photo depicts us eating the huge variety of pumpkin-themed carnival foods. We return to our favorite food carts every year and pose by the signs and images while eating the food, and my layouts depict the sense of tradition and excitement and sheer joy we get from getting to eat these delicious things together once a year.

    On a note unrelated to the show topic — I am pretty excited about this new mic Izzy mentioned for the Paperclipping videos, because one of my favorite things about watching scrapbooking or other art process videos is the ASMR I experience while watching. The sensation is totally heightened by the sounds of the crafting itself, so I love it when the sounds are clearly audible rather than muted with a voiceover. For those who aren’t familiar, ASMR stands for “Auto-Sensory Meridian Response,” and it’s a pleasurable tingling sensation some people experience in response to different stimuli ( I am sure other crafters experience it and count it among the reasons crafting can be so relaxing and such a great outlet. I’ve been meaning to put it out there in the forum sometime to see if other fellow scrapbookers experience ASMR.

  • Jennifer Larson

    This was a terrific episode. The more I listened, the more ideas for pages spilled into my mind. I’ve scrapped traditional Thanksgiving menus and my husband’s BBQ ribs, but many more stories sparked in my mind as I listened. Thank you for that!

    After I heard the podcast, I was inspired to ask my son what his favorite meals that I cook are. His response? Mac and cheese (kraft), spaghetti, chicken noodle soup (homemade), salad (!), and pad thai, the dish he calls “the noodles with the eggs on top.” I had no idea he was that in love with pad thai, but now I know. This is a page that will be made! Thank you for the inspiration.

  • Elise Thomasset

    I enjoyed this topic and discussion quite a bit. I wish I had taken notes because I had several ideas to mention. But, you were right to say that the discussion would trigger thoughts and ideas about food and holiday traditions. As I look at my kitchen counter with the haphazard stack of recipes, cookbooks, and a falling apart handwritten recipe journal (mine) [held together with a rubber band]… each with a traditional recipe for our Thanksgiving… I am thinking Stacy’s idea of a Thanksgiving recipe book is ON Target! Also, thanks for the reminder – I need to go buy a bag of unshelled nuts to put out in a basket. My adult kids all gather around our kitchen island chatting and cracking nuts when they come home for the holidays.

    I would like to mention the Dear Abby letter published in the paper each year. Abigail Van Buren (her pen name) wrote a syndicated advice column from the 1950s until 2000. Her daughter Jeanne Phillips continues to write the column under the Dear Abby name. She honors her mother by repeating some favorite and timeless columns, such as the Thanksgiving tribute. Another Thanksgiving tradition for us, started by my mother, is making Dear Abby’s Famous Pecan Pie, still requested by readers: (from Jeanne Phillips about her mother) “My mother had a notorious sweet tooth and had discovered the pie while a guest at the Phoenix Hotel in Lexington, Ky. (The hotel has since been demolished.) The recipe had been created by the hotel’s pastry chef, who kindly shared it with her. Because one good turn deserves another — here it is: “…

    I wish everyone a lovely, happy holiday together!

  • This was such a fun episode! I’m like Stacy in that I love traditions period, not necessarily just when it comes to food :D
    When Katie was talking about Christmas with her German husband it made me think of how we’ve melded our traditions and customs. I’m Canadian and my husband is French and we live in Luxembourg. We’ve took the best of both of our childhoods and added some new things for our children. We alternate Christmas with his family every second year, so if we are with them for Christmas we do presents, dinner, etc the 24th and do all the French traditions and we’ll have a night (usually New Year’s) when Santa will makes a special trip. FYI, he’s really accommodating and loves to take the reindeer out for a drive and deliver on a different night ;) Speaking of Santa, here, Saint Nicholas isn’t even the same person as Santa Claus. My kids even had little colouring activities in pre-school where they had to distinguish between the two. ;) Saint Nick wears more of a bishop’s robes.
    Now that I think about it, most of my husband’s and my favourite traditions from our childhoods are centred around food. I just finished up my fruitcakes, from my grandmother’s recipe and we always make gingerbread cookies and we love the French tradition of candied chestnuts and Epiphany marzipan pies with a favour inside, whoever finds it is the king/wiseman… oh man, I cannot wait for those :D sooooo good!

  • Rozette Peckham

    Love Love Love this episode for to many reasons:
    1. Paperplanners are making a HUGE comeback. Filofax is the cha-ching for paper planning. Paper planning is more than keeping a calendar. it is goal planning, setting, family organizing and yes journaling. I started to do this and found that “scrapbooking my plans aka future” helped me scrapbook my memories. I had events, daily chores highlighted and color coded. I made notes at the end of the day about what worked and didn’t worked and why I love it so much that I started to create planner pages and sell on Etsy.
    2. Thanksgiving: One year I had plain paper and markers and asked everyone to write what they were thankful for. I took a picture of each person. I made an 8×8 scrapbook scanned it and gave copies to all my cousins and aunts and uncles. As family ages and we lose some of them, we look back at the book. It grows more important/cherished each year. The next year I asked everyone to bring a copy of their recipe along with their dish (Thanksgiving is potluck style at our place. Over the years, certain people bring certain things…Mom-candied yams, Aunt Sandy–mashed potatoes, Lisa–chocolate pie, Me-cream corn casserole.) I forgot to ask people for recipes when they arrived and book was never done. It is the last year we had thanksgiving as a large family. If you have a chance to do it, get it done.
    3. Traditional Thanksgiving: for us that includes turkey, ham etc but also Tamales, Mexican sweet bread (pan dulce) and pastole. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it. favorite line from My Big Fat Greek Wedding, “No meat?!?! What do you mean he no eat no meat? That’s okay, I’ll cook lamb.” LOL
    4. Christmas: Husband celebrated on the 25th with his kids with big dinner that day. We celebrate the 24th, potluck style with gifts being opened at midnight. The compromise is that we take a few gifts to the 24th event with cookies and on Christmas day we open our gifts and do a fancy breakfast/brunch with people over.

  • Mary Lamb

    When Noell was talking about crying about the Panda Express food after she came back from the Phillippines, I totally related! I spent my junior year in college in Japan and also ate rice every day. My host mother cooked multi-course meals every night that were always a surprise and very delicious. When I came back I was a rice snob and tried to recreate the food I ate in Japan, but it was never the same again. That was more than 20 years ago and I still crave the food I ate there. It’s not the same going to a Japanese restaurant.
    I made a scrapbook when I came back from Japan, and I wrote in a journal when I was there, but I have never combined the two, and I know that I didn’t take any pictures of those wonderful meals. Still, I don’t think I will go back and scrap that time again. It feels like a lifetime ago (and in a sense, it was, because that was before my husband and I got together and I don’t keep in contact with anyone I knew from that place and time).
    However, I would love to delve deeper into my family’s love of food and particularly my grandmother who passed away 4 years ago. I inherited her copy of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking that contains her handwritten notes. My grandmother loved cooking so much and every time we would come to visit there would be homemade desserts when we arrived at her house, homemade soup for lunch, and a big feast the day we were leaving that almost always had green beans, her favorite vegetable. My grandfather would joke that we were going to place green beans on her casket instead of roses (we didn’t!) I haven’t yet made a tribute page to my grandmother in my scrapbook, but this has inspired me to include copies of her handwritten recipes and actually make some of them myself.

  • Tina Campbell

    Another fantastic episode! Totally surprised when I heard my name mentioned and you read my comment, so cool! thank you :) I got some really fun ideas from this show and will be doing a few foody layouts in the near future I’m thinking. I was in a local scrapbook shop where we would meet monthly with a recipe swap and you scrapped the recipe total fun! Food does have it’s place in scrapping too. Recently got the Project Life recipe book at Michaels and really think I’m gonna enjoy doing the recipes in that.

  • djbookkeeper

    Loved this episode!
    I had been pooh-poohing the whole planner thing but when Stacy described what it’s really used for, I immediately signed up for Heidi’s class and am looking forward to it.
    And, I also got tons of ideas for scrapping Thanksgiving. I had stopped even taking photos because it was always the same old thing and scrapping Thanksgiving was getting boring. Listening to this episode made me realize I really need to start documenting everything more and not just take it for granted and explain why we do the same things every year. I loved Stacey’s idea of taking a picture of the person holding the food she brings ( we all know none of the guys bring the food!). Each person in my family is associated with a certain dish and she has to bring that dish or Thanksgiving is a failure. For example, we all constantly remind the banana pudding person about the one year she didn’t bring it. There was a lot of whining that year and, trust me, she will never make that mistake again!
    I also realized I need to print out and scrap all the pre-Thanksgiving emails that are sent back and forth with gentle, teasing reminders. My mother hosts Thanksgiving and we usually have about 30 people and she looks forward every year to sending out the “get ready” email. My daughter loves it also and bugs her grandmother to hurry up and send out the email. Thanks for all the nudges and memory joggers that I got from this episode!

  • Youngmi

    I haven’t even finished this episode yet but it’s going down as one of my all time favorites. I love food. Maybe too much. Food is firmly embedded in my memories and it has the beautiful ability to recall people, places, relationships, and time. Hearing your stories made me think of so many of mine. I have so many stories flying through my mind that I’m worried I won’t be able to get them all down on to paper!

    I’m a second generation Korean-American – my parents are immigrants. Growing up, I wanted the full American Thanksgiving dinner experience. I remember one year when I was little, my aunt was making the turkey and I asked if there would be stuffing. No one knew what stuffing was so she threw a handful of carrots into the bird and that was our stuffing. Definitely not what I was expecting… and not delicious. Over the years, the menu has changed so now our Thanksgiving family dinner has turkey, stuffing (yay!) mashed potatoes, mandoo (dumplings), kimchi (pickled cabbage), and kalbi (Korean bbq short ribs). I can now appreciate how awesome this meal is and I love the story it tells about our family.

    Thanks for another awesome episode! You guys are the best.

  • Apologizing in advance for the extreme length of this comment. And I am numbering it to keep track of everything. Sorry!

    1) I strongly associate food with people. My memories and feelings are so intertwined with food that I couldn’t begin to separate them even if I tried. My memories of my paternal grandmother are connected with beef barley stew, while my paternal grandfather reminds me of candy, jimmy dean sausage biscuits, donuts, walnut ice cream, and nuts. I have started to document those memories, but sometimes the feelings of missing them are so strong, I have a hard time finishing them. I recently connected the fact that difficult relationships I have with a few relatives are connected to very bad food memories. While the food wasn’t the reason our relationship is/was bad, it certainly is an indicator of an unhappy dynamics.

    2) In all my years living abroad, certain holidays-and their food traditions, take on a deeper significance than I experience when having those same holidays in the US. My last Thanksgiving abroad was in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where we invited all our American friends to join us for dinner. We ate outside by the pool. Friends brought turkey, stuffing, green beans, pies, etc. I’ve documented that day because it was so full of strong emotions. Happiness at being with good friends and sharing a special tradition, but achingly lonely at the same time for family that we missed.

    Likewise, I adopted new food traditions from the countries I lived in. December isn’t complete without making lussekatter (Lucia buns) in honor of Lucia Day on December 13th. I always make semlor on Fat Tuesday and that brings me back to our precious time in Sweden. My children and I longingly talk about shawarma when we are hungry for a quick snack, but it isn’t something we can make easily and isn’t so easy to find in the style that we enjoy. Falafel and hummus are also two things we came to enjoy that holds meaning and memory for us.

    3) I think project life is a great place to document food favorites and memories. At my last birthday, I snapped a picture of my favorite cake and included the recipe for it. I recorded the memories of having that cake at every birthday since I was little.

    4) Noell, you are right about hot dogs! In Sweden, hot dogs are sold at kiosks with a generous helping of mashed potatoes. The first time I saw a picture of the hot dog with mashed potatoes, I asked my husband why they served soft serve ice cream with about dog! The picture really looked like it was ice cream. I was relieved to hear that it was mashed potatoes and NOT ice cream.

    5) I once made a Shutterfly Photobook with scanned photos of my great-grandparents. My great-grandmother was known for fine baking skills. I included a scanned copy of a recipe she wrote out for bread. Seeing her handwriting and reading the recipe she wrote made me feel very connected to her.

    6) I think food is a very important cultural artifact as it speaks to food supplies, traditions, religious customs, and foreign influences. While studying Swedish, I wrtoe a long research paper about the food customs in Sweden which helped me understand the culture so much better. So sharing the foods we eat and our food traditions is something that we should include in our scrapbooks because it gives a richer, deeper picture of who we are, the time we live in, and the culture in which we operate.
    great show! Sorry for the novel!

  • Cara

    As usual this was as great episode, full of ‘food for thought.’ I had never thought of scrap booking food connections and now ideas are pouring through my head.
    My mother in law’s family business is brewing beer (they have been doing it since 1851), and she used to make a cake using a bottle of beer as the rising agent. My husband has so many fond memories of his childhood and this cake; it was always there on the table when he came home from school and he associates it very strongly with his mum and his happy, carefree early childhood.

    I have baked it over the years and my copy of the recipe calls for a small bottle of beer in the ingredients. One day we were sitting with my mother in law chatting about the cake and with a serious face she said, “Oh no, it needs a tall bottle of beer.” To cut a long story short she then explained (because I thought I’d been making it wrong) that you put half in the cake and drink the other half! Definitely need to scrap book that!

  • Shannan M

    Great episode! I love cooking and scrapbook food a lot. Last year I challenged myself to make 52 New Recipes and made a four page layout about it at the end. I have also scrapped about our changing diets, the staple foods in our house, the kids favourites, foods I am loving at the time. Also, I recently fell down the paper planner rabbit hole – it is huge! Search Erin Condren in Pinterest and see some of the amazing things people are doing with their planners – washi tape, stickers, stamps, even Project Life cards. I had no idea.

  • Courtney

    Planners: I am embracing the paper planner this coming year. I tried to do electronic, especially since I’m electronic in other ways, including digi scrapping. But I can’t do it. I’ve tried Izzy’s picks – Evernote and I don’t get along. Period. Workflowly is awesome, and I’m used it but it doesn’t fit my day to day. I adore Google Calendar. I can see both mine and my husband’s schedule in one glance. I can add my menu plan straight from their website. I can invite people to events. But it just doesn’t work for me day to day.
    I used a small, basic paper planner this year. And I loved it! I loved having everything in one spot. I can write my meal plan down, any appointments, little PL stories jotted right on the date it happened. I can see my to do list spread out over a week, not just one lump. I’m excited for this coming year. I bought a new planner that fits what I want. I’m going to “print & cut” a bunch of fun word art for stickers for my planner using my Sizzix eClips. I’m going to pull out my washi tape and just enjoy and embrace my paper planning needs.

    As far as food, I’m in Izzy’s camp as well (Promise I’m not sucking up!). My memories of the holidays are people, not food. It wouldn’t bother me to celebrate Thanksgiving with enchiladas, or lasagne. I don’t need to smell the turkey cooking. In fact, we go to my husband’s grandmother’s house when in town. My memories aren’t of the food spread, but of all the people crowded around the plastic tables. There are memorable moments that are food related, such as the year we were assigned olives and brought a Costco can of them. Or the year that someone dropped the gravy on their way down the narrow staircase. Or the year that the person assigned hors d’oeuvres showed up after we had started eating the main meal. I do document food, just not in relation to holidays.

  • When I was the family chef (that’s currently Izzy’s role) I tried a new recipe almost every night. That would have been cool to document at the time. Maybe I can still do something on that topic. You learn a lot by doing that, don’t you?

  • Great story!

  • Love your international food stories! In the Philippines there was a hot dog vendor around the corner from my house and we would stop by in the evenings on our way home at the end of a long workday. They were the best hot dogs ever with a different/better flavor. They were pinker in color, were served on a stick, and were marinated in some kind of thin sauce.

  • What a great story!

  • Oh, yeah, the pre-Thanksgiving emails!!!

  • Here in Arizona, tamales are a well-loved Christmas tradition.

  • Nancy M

    I love listening to the Roundtable every week – thanks so much!!!

    I rarely get a chance to listen to an entire podcast in one go. I used to be able to fast forward to where I had left off but I seem to have lost that functionality. Did you change the way you publish it? Or is it something that has changed on my end? I either listen on my iPad or iPhone.

    Thanks again!

  • Nancy, are you is this on iTunes, or at the blog?

  • I lived in Japan for 4 years (about 12 years ago). Taking photos of food back then just wasn’t something I did. I ate so many delicious and weird and wonderful things, but it was before digital photography and long before instagram so there’s no record of any of it! I have 2 huge scrapbooks about Japan, but I don’t think I have anything about food in them.

  • This was a great topic. I think we all have associations with food, holiday and otherwise, and so many of those associations are as much about people as they are about food.

    I grew up in New Zealand so we didn’t have Thanksgiving and all our holidays were in the wrong seasons – Halloween in spring, Easter in fall, Christmas in summer, no holidays at all in winter/July! Some people celebrate Christmas is July when it feels more natural to have a winter feast day.

    I have lots of food related memories of Christmas in NZ with our mixed up holiday dinner. Some families spent the day outside or at the beach, grilling, but my family was more British-traditional, so we had a big fancy dinner (lunch) with all the trimmings – a hot roasted meat and a bunch of cold cuts, hot mashed potatoes and a hot vegetable and several cold salads, gravy and other wintery trimmings (although I don’t remember if we had stuffing or not). And then deserts were hot Xmas pudding, ice cream, trifle, and pavlova. An odd combination of hot English foods and more appropriate NZ summer foods.

  • Lisainre

    I was a bit late listening but I loved this episode! I mean, really loved it! To begin with, I thought it was going to be another episode about just scrapping our food but the emotional connections really gave it a great dimension and as I was driving around, I came up with loads of ideas for new layouts or things I really need to remember to look up so that I can come up with the story.
    As a Brit living in Germany, with a German husband, I too could relate to the “problems” of bringing two cultures together with traditions etc but over the years, we’ve developed a good mix between the two. Obviously, we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but Christmas was always a big thing for me and I was really worried that I didn’t want to lose those aspects of my British Christmas that were special. We don’t have kids but if we had, they would have got two sets of presents I think (or even more!) as St Nick comes on the 6th, then the Weihnachtsmann on the 24th in late afternoon and I would have wanted Father Christmas to bring presents on the night of 24th/25th! Anyway, I quickly realised that I was never going to get my English turkey dinner anymore if I didn’t make it myself (we don’t manage to get back to the UK very often at that time of year). So I set up a new tradition of inviting my German family over on Christmas Day for the English dinner – turkey and all the trimmings and of course party crackers. The photo of the whole Germany family sitting round the table in their paper hats is a must for us all now even though they had never experienced any of it before. The first year I made my dinner, I’d never cooked a turkey before and it was all new for me – and then for 12 people and in a tiny kitchen. It was so successful with everyone, that it’s become a tradition that I hope my German family look forward to each year! I don’t have any handed down recipes so my husband and I had to find some of our own – mostly from magazines – that now form the core dinner, including secret ingredients in the stuffing that is the highlight of our preparations! I literally call out for the “secret ingredient” while I’m making it and in he runs to provide the perfect splash of apricot schnapps which makes it unique. This is a special moment between us every year and is part of our (mini) family story. I’m now not allowed to make any changes to the core dinner! Yes, I’ve scrapped about Christmas but the whole story around the dinner, why I make it, the secret stuffing ingredient, the emotional connection I feel to who I am when I sit down to eat? None of that can be found, yet, on my pages. This year I will be sure to make an effort to get some suitable photos so that at least one or two of these stories can be recorded.
    Christmas Eve is a lovely, calm, typically German evening for us, but Christmas Day is when I let my hair down and go to town on celebrating my Britishness – and I love it that way. We have a good blend and we are constantly working on that.
    Thanks for reminding me of some aspects of my life that need to be captured in my scrapbooking! A really fabulous episode. Thanks for all you do.
    Non-schmo, Lisa

  • I’m a little late commenting but I confess this episode made me cry! I could so very much identify with Stacy talking about her journey through major diet changes. 3.5 years ago I had to give up gluten and dairy overnight for health reasons, and it’s definitely been a bumpy culinary ride since then, being forced to say goodbye to foods I loved – especially as I’d always been a very unfussy eater. As an expat (I’m a Brit living in the US, the sixth country I’ve lived in, and married to an American) I’ve realized over time that food plays an important role in my identity and culture. Living in different countries is great for broadening one’s horizons and culinary outlook on life, but it’s also important to capture the essence of what’s special when it comes to key moments like holidays and traditions. I definitely agree with Noell that if you do something a lot then it can become a tradition, so this is what we try to do now. We find new ways to celebrate, incorporating the best of different cultures and restricted diets, so that it becomes a special celebration that’s uniquely “us”.

    As for scrap ideas, I have photos of the inside of the fridge, including from when I lived in the Netherlands. It’s fun to look at what I was eating during that time of my life, and to remember fondly products that I could only get when I lived there. One year for Christmas I made a menu which highlighted who’d helped prepare which dishes, showing not just we ate but the teamwork we had in producing the meal. Food continues to be one of my favourite topics for photos, and definitely features highly in my Project Life album.

  • Amy Muse

    Oh my goodness. Food, hum. So many emotions, memories, traditions, culture…just the stuff memory keeping is made of. This is so funny to me today, as my husband is coming home after a year in Germany, and we decided to go to a local habachi steakhouse on Christmas Day like on A Christmas Story! We are going to my parents home a few days earlier for the traditional Holiday meal, but we decided very consciously to make this Christmas ours.

  • I totally related to what Noell said about doing it all when it comes to holidays. I’m Chinese, but born and raised in America and my husband is Italian born and raised… so we just celebrate everything! ahha…