Nostalgia and the Celebration of Food (Or, an Ode to Butter)

Nostalgia and the Celebration of Food (Or, an Ode to Butter)

Posted by Joseph Linscott on

One of the most common talking points between Amy and I in the studio is about our Butter Half card. It’s a perennial bestseller, and with each passing year, our customers’ enthusiasm for it seems to grow even stronger. Despite the simplicity of the illustration, and perhaps buoyed by the card’s (admittedly great) punny phrase, it would appear that for our customers, as for us, butter is king. 

Butter boards, butter mugs, and even butter rugs. You name it, and these days it’s probably readily available in a shop near you. And if butter isn't your thing, don’t worry — from pasta-inspired sweatshirts to pizza roll-inspired ornaments to chicken-and-waffle studs, there’s truly something for every type of food lover. Food, in general, is having a MOMENT.

It kind of makes sense, doesn’t it? Food will always be a central part of our lives, because it literally sustains us. But it’s also a source of comfort. It’s one of the ways that we show each other love. It brings us together. Locally, as something we gather around. But also globally, as a commonality across cultures and countries and communities. 

Beyond that, there’s something really special about how food can transport us to a specific moment in time, whether you’re indulging in an overly-processed snack, treating yourself to a “guilty pleasure” fast food item, or trying to recreate an elaborate restaurant dish. There’s nostalgia for our childhoods, for simpler times, for adventures in new places, for core memories of gathering with our loved ones. And so what if the food isn’t “fancy?”

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A simple stick of butter can offer just as much (if not more) joy and significance as any other type of food. It holds memories of your grandma’s holiday baking, of a favorite TV show, of the childhood friend who spread it on graham crackers as an after school snack (true story).

In an increasingly connected-yet-disconnected world, it feels like everyone is leaning into the specific brand of nostalgia that food evokes — that vibrant, bigger-than-life, almost-too-good-to-be-true glow that often accompanies childhood memories. As one chef puts it,  “It’s like why everyone’s putting a fancy baked potato on their menu — kitschiness is coming back.” Maybe that’s why Rommy De Bommy, designer of luxury handbags that look exactly like all your favorite foods, fancy and school cafeteria alike, has garnered over 100k followers and is able to sell their creations for thousands of dollars a pop. (But also, how badly does Amy want this Lunchables inspired purse??)

And maybe that’s also why Butter Half does so well for us — along with so many of our other food-related cards, like Thick and Thin, Use Your Noodle, and everyone’s holiday favorite, Cheese-ons’ Greetings. The opportunity to celebrate our quirky (and not-so-quirky) tastes, to broadcast our interests and invite others into our world, and in the case of our cards, to show loved ones that they’re seen and understood and appreciated. Whether edible or not, it seems that food really is the ultimate unifier.

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