Date of Defense

Fall 11-16-2001



First Advisor

Ann Veeck, Marketing

Second Advisor

Jim Eckert, Marketing

Third Advisor

Marr=y Ann Lavendar, National City Corporation


Food can be a powerful evocation of earlier experiences. A taste or smell can serve as a sudden reminder of a person, place, or event in one's past. Recipes, as the written or oral manifestation of food, can function as a means to keep a memory alive and to pass it on to future generations. The relationship between food and memory has rarely been researched in a scholarly fashion. This study systematically explores the relationship between people's choice of favorite recipes and the recipes' link to autobiographical memories. Specifically, three hundred respondents were interviewed to determine what their favorite recipes were and why the particular recipes were identified. A qualitative analysis of the interview data was performed to determine to what extent and by what means the recipes serve as retrieval cues to autobiographical memory. First, the author offers a review of literature. Next, the author presents books and articles that have informally addressed the relationship between cooking and memories. Then, the author presents an analysis of the respondents' favorite recipes, and last, how the meanings respondents ascribe are consonant with the role of retrieval cues in relation to autobiographical memory. The results allow marketers a better understanding of how favorite recipes stir up positive past memories and influence consumption in the form of buying behavior, brand loyalty, and brand awareness.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only