Food for Thought

‘Proustian Moments’ – how certain foods can evoke strong memories. For Marcel Proust (novelist, critic and essayist), it was a cup of tea and a madeleine that swept him back to his childhood country holidays; for chef and writer Nigel Slater it is chocolate ice cream and, for me, it’s liquorice allsorts.

My passion started as a child; my father was a lover of liquorice and never went to the cinema without a bag of Bertie Bassett’s. I can still recall cartoons and, later on, feature films whenever I sink my teeth into them. Nigel Slater summed up his foodie memories – I couldn’t have put it any better.

‘You could tell the story of my life in ice cream. The shock of the frozen milk hitting my front teeth, the exquisite numbness at the back of the throat… I am not the only one for whom many of life’s most intimate details come flooding back at the sight, smell and taste of particular foods.

“It is curious that, while I struggle to remember my mobile phone number or grapple helplessly to recall the closest of friends’ names when I introduce them to someone, the merest sniff of chocolate ice cream has been known to bring back memories from 20, 30, 40 years ago with frightening clarity. Put that same ice cream on a little wooden spoon and I can recall the cinema I was in when I ate it, the feel of the (red) velvet seats on the back of my bare knees, the colour of the ice-cream attendant’s overall – details more glowing than if I had eaten that ice cream two hours ago.”                     

I wanted to ‘pay homage’ to the humble Allsorts. Love them or hate them, these sweets have been my mainstay cinema treat. 

I wanted to explore a range of glass fusing techniques. The appeal of liquorice allsorts was:

  • Their bright, bold colours and their stackable shapes (the ‘Lego’ of the sweet world)
  • To work with the classic stripes, squares and circles to create new patterns and designs
  • To experiment with transparent and opaque glass – creating a range of colours, styles and textures
  • To apply fusing, slumping, weaving and pate de verre techniques