I have a fine appreciation for food. You’d think it would having something to do with me living in New Orleans, the culinary capital of the world. Or, having a dad who worked in the food service industry for 30+ years. And those two things certainly play a large role.
But I can remember a day back in elementary school, eating lunch in the cafeteria and enjoying every bite. It was chicken nugget day, with a heaping side of mashed potatoes and gravy, and one of those delicious, sinfully soft dinner rolls. It was that day that my “friends” titled me the human garbage disposal. I use “friends” lightly because what friend would actually say that to your face? The thought of being called that now is mortifying, but at the time, it was a designation I wore with pride.
I’ve always had a passion for food, so it’s no surprise I get so much joy out of representing restaurants, not to mention some of the best in New Orleans. So, when asked to write a blog entry about restaurant marketing ideas, it made me think back on my love for food and where it started.
Food is a unifier. Growing up, I can remember enjoying meals with my family over laughter, lots of laughter. Today, nothing is better than enjoying good conversation with friends over a delicious meal. I think it’s that for a lot of people. Food sparks happy memories for people and forges a connection with others.
Which reminds me of a story. A few years ago, I was traveling home to Houston to spend Thanksgiving with my family. My client, Arnaud’s, offered to send me home with a pie for me and my family to enjoy, which I kindly accepted (duh!). I kept that beautiful pie, inside an equally as beautiful Arnaud’s-branded box, by my side the entire trip, careful not to lose sight of it through the security belt.
Now, I fancy myself a creative marketer, having been in the business for more than 10 years. But boy, did I underestimate the power of walking through a busy airport with a pie box. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, was commenting on the delicious treat. From bystanders joking around about stealing it from me – they’d have to tear it from my cold, dead hands – to airplane passengers offering to give me the “good” seat in place of the pie, it was quite the conversation starter. Of course, I took every opportunity to do my PR ‘thang’ and plug Arnaud’s, you know, the nearly century-old, Creole dining institute located in the French Quarter (check).
It made me realize that sometimes, it’s the simplest gesture that can elicit emotion, without even meaning to. I would imagine most of the people I encountered in the airport that day have fond memories of enjoying meals with their family on Thanksgiving Day, over laughter and lots of pie. Maybe next time, I’ll bring minis to pass out for all to enjoy…topped with an Arnaud’s sticker, of course.
Do you have a fond food memory? Share your favorite foody moments by tweeting us at @DeveneyNola using the #DEVchat hashtag.