Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > A Bigger Part of Our Life is Connected to Food: Older Adult Food Memories and Food Realities

The symbolic importance of food--its power to connect us to others in our community, past and present--is important to older adults. This thesis examines the symbolic importance of food to four diverse older adults in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Powerful notions of personal biography and identity are crafted through their stories about food memories, stories about making food, and stories about food and their community of peers. Food connects them to formative childhood memories and experiences. Food enables them to perform significant familial roles at this stage in their life. Food functions as a symbol of how one chooses to age and perceives one's peers in the aging process. These seniors have complex food philosophies deeply shaped by childhood memories, gender, race, ethnicity, and an awareness of their life stage, and reveal that the symbolic significance of food becomes an expression of how a person experiences aging.