The FoodScapes team are collecting stories and recipes about our coastal food heritage.
Food is different to many other commodities in that it is a biological necessity. Yet the things that people choose to eat are not as straightforward as what is available, edible or nutritious. Historically, our coast has had a big influence on the food that we eat.
In ancient times, rockpools provided an easily accessible source of protein from shellfish and whilst it is thought that seaweeds were eaten too, local seaweed preparation techniques have been lost, although the seaweed recipes of Scotland, Wales and Ireland hint to what once may have been.
Another source of seaweed knowledge comes from family recipes of Scandinavian families who moved to our region in the early twentieth century. Food choices, both the ingredients and their preparation, are shaped by landscape, heritage and culture, as well as by income.
Meanwhile, from the salt pans that used to dot our landscape, to plants such as carrots, cabbages, peas and fennel brought to our coast by the Romans, to the movements of the fishing industry, our landscape is shaped by our food practices.
We would love to hear your recipes or food memories that include local coastal ingredients.
For example, you might have stories of fishing, fish or shellfish – did you grow up eating roll mops or crabs, or spend your time gathering willicks/winkles? Have you gathered seaweed, glasswort or coastal plants, have an allotment or have memories of going rabbiting?
Maybe you still use your nan’s fish pie or pickled herring recipe, or have adapted your traditional family recipes since coming to live on the coast?
Whatever your story, we’d love to hear from you!
Suzanne Hocknell & Maggie Roe, Newcastle University.