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Dining For Luck

Have you eaten your honey today? No? Zeus says put down the phone for a moment and get to it. Honey will give you wisdom if, says Zeus, you start eating it young and if, adds Pythagoras, you eat it a lot.

Honey is just one staple in a cupboard full of foods that have been considered edible magic. Chefs, historians and scientists look to a range of edibles to see how they have been or continue to be revered for their enriching qualities.

Romans would put honey in their sacrifices to becalm the god of the underworld so he wouldn’t terrorize them with volcanic lava. Now, don’t try this at home, but: folk myth says that if you rub your eyes and lips with this liquid bee goodness, you will forever change the way you see and speak.

Linked to immortality, honey was used in ancient funeral rituals. The dead were even buried with honey to savour in the next life. Oh, and it’s also supposed to be an aphrodisiac.

Honey is just one of the ingredients I’ll be considering in my newest project: Dining For.

As you’ll see on the site, The Dining For project grows out of my fascination with our human history of concocting edible potions to influence friends, foes, and fate.

And why not? Food is survival; food is accessible. Food offers a sensory link to our most ancient of ancestors, and to our cross-cultural peers. Well-vetted psychological research shows the strong links between smell, emotion and memory. And we’ve all experienced the influence that smell has on our excitement – or horror – around eating certain foods.

Of course, not all the ancient food potionery has seemed plausible. Pity the poor singles trying to go about their daily business with curlicue lemon peels jammed into each armpit. They seem more likely to attract bees than spouses.

All in all, though, the things we eat and drink may have more influence on our thoughts and emotions than we expect. So, with this project, I’ll be looking globally at past and current kitchen efforts to woo, protect, avenge, persuade, and embolden. Dining for love, luck, revenge, sway, and superpowers.

Much appreciation for any honey-fortified luck sent my way. As ever, I look forward to the continued hunt for artists and artisans, current and past, for this Creators Vancouver site.

Thanks!

Elizabeth

Header. Chinh Le Duc

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Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton