NYPL Picture Collection: Mom, I’m Starving

It is a plain fact but a fact nonetheless that teenagers are hungry. Not for love, attention or other action necessarily—most of the time, they’re just really hungry for food.

One of the best things about finishing a school day is the after-school snack. One of the best things about finishing dinner is dessert. One of the best things about track meets is sugar.


Stories from adolescence are typically embarrassing or painful and can remain so long after the fact, but food stories just get funnier with age. Take someone I know who only ate Meat Lovers pizzas and cereal for almost a year but had to switch to a Sustagen diet when he developed crippling mouth ulcers. At the time, horrific. In retrospect, hilarious! Or the time I burned my hand quite badly taking a scalding chocolate-chip-and-white-bread sandwich out of the microwave. The whole family panicked, and yet now it’s that scar of which I’m most proud.

The pictures collected here are from the New York Public Library’s Picture Collection, a room full of folders upon folders of pictures. The images are torn from books and magazines, mounted onto thick card stock and cataloged by subject.