My thesis essentially explores the ways social media reveals subconscious connections to food. Research indicates that there is an existing connection between food consumption and nostalgia, which transports a person back to their childhood and its association with comfort. This concept of nostalgia helps us understand how people in their everyday lives share their personal comforts with the general public, and how the general public responds. To explore this phenomenon I conduct primary research in the form of collecting and analyzing Instagram posts relating to comfort food, using the hashtags #comfortfood, #nostalgia, and #foodnostalgia. I use this research to identify common themes in the way Instagram users relate food, nostalgia, and comfort. In particular, I analyze the connection of users and memories, users’ reactions to the uncontrollable stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, and comfort foods with/without nostalgia. By understanding how people associate their emotions with the food they eat, food’s presence on social media can be viewed as more than a basic building block for survival, and instead show an insight into someone’s way to self-comfort or to comfort others without conscious realization.
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Paul, Isabella, "A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: Social Media's Approach to Comfort Food" (2020). Honors Theses - Providence Campus. 42.