After receiving the brief I made key notes and highlighted points of interest to begin researching. From the brief I took away that local memory triggers were important, to look for original recipes and how it should be eaten. I felt it was important to speak to people and uncover real stories within the food, looking at how it’s changed over time and what it means to people now. For my initial research I began looking into a wide range of foods from across England, discovering the stories of their origins, before focusing in on local foods such as the Newcastle Stottie and the Middlesbrough Parmo. I then took my search global, looking at foods from around the world, uncovering their stories and the people and traditions connected to them.
As my research began to develop I decided the first area I would like to really focus on was fish. Fish is a global food, it’s always been a staple of peoples diets throughout history therefore is surrounded with rich stories as well as many religious teachings such as Jesus feeding the five thousand with a basket of 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread. Taking the research further I focused in on kippers, in particular the Craster Kipper, which has been claimed to be the best kipper in Britain, luckily for me Craster is just up the road from Newcastle! This was something I felt I could really center my work around as it is a real Northern food, with the original smokehouse still remaining in Craster that has been curing kippers there for over 100 years. I also decided another area of more developed research would be into bread, again with it being so steeped in religious connotations and a constant throughout history I felt that I would have more than enough stories to tell. After looking into all aspects of bread, I focused on the names that parts of the UK give bread buns and referred back to my initial research into local foods, looking at the Newcastle Stottie. The stottie is a large circle flat bun, born from thrift and frugality, it has been described as the pillar of poverty cuisine however has endured the test of time and remained a firm favorite of Geordies. They are to be eaten with another Geordie delicacy Pease Pudding, which is a thick spread made up of split yellow peas and is often referred to as Geordie Caviar.
I decided to pursue my work into Stotties and Pease Pudding as living in Newcastle meant that I had access to original recipes, an abundance of stories and Geordies on every corner! I found two articles in a local Newcastle newspaper speaking to men who are passionate about pease pudding and stotties so I contacted them myself for interviews, as well as interviewing local Geordies about their opinions and stories surrounding the much loved bun! I also found songs containing references to stotties and pease pudding as well as interesting facts and photos, such as Muhammed Ali pictured eating a Stottie on his visit to Newcastle. With all my findings I decided that a miscellany would be the best way to tell the story of the Geordie bread and butter. In regards to the typefaces for my publication I selected Bulmer for the body copy as it was designed by a Geordie which I felt really fit in with my Northern theme and Cooper Black for titles and headings as it’s a rounded, bold type which perfectly reflected the stottie! With all my information gathered and typefaces chosen, I began designing the publication itself.
Initially I planned for the miscellany to be circular in shape mirroring the stottie, however binding it would be tricky and it might not stay a perfect circle so I then sketched designs for all the text to fit into a circle theme throughout the book. After receiving feedback on the difficulty of the legibility when constraining the type into a circle I began exploring other options looking at white space and more editorial styles of layout design. I experimented with a range of sizes and shapes for the page size but settled on a large rectangle shape, 250mm wide by 350mm high. The publication begins with a main introduction to the stottie and pease pudding, and then focuses on each aspect separately, looking into their histories and origins. It continues to my interviews, which consist of Geordie tales of stotties and pease pudding, voiced by male and female characters that I have created from all the responses I received. Muhammad Ali and his stottie photograph follows on from my interviews as it was taken in Newcastle were my interviews also took place and finally the book ends with recipes to both foods. I also wanted to create small extra add-ons to accompany the text such as the diary entry from Samuel Pepys famous diary where he talks of dining his wife on pease pudding, and the songs I discovered about the Newcastle delicacies. I wanted my book to be made up of a range of papers and textures so chose a white cotton based paper for the introduction, the dps on Ali as well as the recipes, then sourced a light brown for the pages on the Stottie, a blue paper for the pease pudding to mirror the colour on the can its sold in, and an off white paper for the interview section. I also wanted to show that the interviews were a separate section so used coloured type to distinguish this, with the rest of the book set in black, excluding the recipes which are grey, I chose to add dark blues and greens to the interviews and large pull quotes. To bind the book together I chose a basic stab bind, which is perfect when using single sheets.