Bittersweet Food

Critica 53 (157):71-93 (2021)
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Nostalgia and food are intertwined universals in human experience. All of us have experienced nostalgia centered on food, and all of us have experienced food infused with nostalgia. To explore the links between nostalgia and food, I start with a rough taxonomy of nostalgic foods, and illustrate it with examples. Despite their diversity, I argue that there is a psychological commonality to experiencing nostalgic foods of all kinds: imagination. On my account, imagination is the key to understanding the cognitive, conative, affective, and perceptual aspects of experiencing nostalgic foods. In turn, the recognition of imagination’s centrality in experiencing nostalgic foods reveals how food can produce aesthetic experiences comparable to those produced by literature and painting.
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First archival date: 2020-07-20
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