The Observer newspaper has a monthly food supplement which contains a section titled, ‘My life on a plate‘. Celebrities grant interviews where they talk about their relationship to food and how it features in their life through an amalgam of memories and current events. It’s fascinating just how much of our milestones revolve around plate.
Needless to say that I enjoy reading the section but the word ‘plate’ always jars me. It’s just, well, ordinary. A plate is very nondescript too. If you had to recollect food based memories wouldn’t you want to rest it on something other than a ‘plate’? This isn’t plate snobbery. For years I have eaten off plates bought from Argos, cheap ones too. But I would rather place my memories on something far more sophisticated. What are memories if not rose-tinted too and ‘plate’ doesn’t do it.
Having broken a few plates along the way to reaching midlife, both, accidentally and in anger, I would prefer something befitting of my middle-age that acts as a graceful repository for my memories, food based or otherwise.This would be a Rose China bowl. A nice feminine bowl smelling of fragrant roses to signify a half-life well lived.
If this sounds like nonsense, it probably is but the point is that one is allowed a modicum of nonsense in midlife. After spending decades being sensible – going to university, getting married, being a grown-up, mortgage, school run, making sure that one’s child is on her way to becoming a responsible citizen of society, pet care, losing loved ones and friends and being disappointed with one’s career – I think that some flummery ought to be allowed in midlife.
Having said that, my memories are precious. You don’t reach the midlife stage without having collected some throwback memories that, metaphorically, keep you warm during cold nights. I asked some of my midlife friends what they would want to save in a fire and the answers contained ‘photos’ without hesitation. There was a time when us midlifers had to have our photos printed and placed in albums. I have a ton of photo albums. Photos are part of our memory stock but there are experiences which are stored in our memory bank. These are precious to each and every one of us.
What would you place your memories on in your midlife?