Tag Food and Drink

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A Gloucestershire, UK shopkeeper has found a partial solution to the tragedy of the commons: de-commodifying the village children’s litter. It helps that her community is small enough that she knows most of the kids by name (and that they don’t have many other options for their snack food needs when she cuts them off). In this video clip, she says that the litterers she catches nearly always prefer 10 minutes of trash pickup to a multiday candy ban.

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A village shopkeeper is marking sweet wrappers and drinks bottles with the names of children who buy them in a bid to discourage them from littering.

Yvonne Froud, 52, took action after becoming fed up with the rubbish collecting in Joys Green in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire….

Mrs Froud said if named wrappers were found on the streets, she had a chat to the “offender” who was temporarily banned from the shop or asked to pick up some litter as a consequence.


Originally published at culture-making.com.

Tastes great, but is it art?

Fun and important questions about the aesthetics of food (and, for that matter, the aesthetics of aesthetics). At the end of the day it’s all culture, though.

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What issues might we be thinking about in trying to decide whether to classify cooking as one of the arts? Here are some.

1) Is the person who says of the Chateau Petrus they have just tasted that it is a work of art to be taken literally?

2) Is the experience we have of a Beethoven String Quartet sufficiently different from that we have when eating a great meal so that we should distinguish them as different kinds of experience?

3) Does it make sense to say of someone that they have been moved by a meal?

4) Is it significant for classifying something as an art form that a meal is consumed in the process of appreciation?

5) When I say of Grant Achatz that he is an artist in the kitchen how does this differ from saying he is a genius at the stove?

6) Why do we distinguish between the architect who designed Notre Dame and those who built it by designating the latter as craftsmen and the former as an artist? Is there a class bias exhibited by this distinction?

7) A piece of music can express sadness. A pate cannot. So?


from “Penne for Your Thought,” by Gerald Dworkin, 3quarksdaily, 9 March 2009 :: Vertemnus / Rudolf II, by Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527–1593), Wikipedia

Originally published at culture-making.com.

Global Street Food installation, by Mike Meiré

A display of street vendor setups from around the world. They’re fascinating, but also a little sad and empty, here in the white box, stripped of their cultural context and—more importantly—the vendors themselves.

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Market Stand (China), Floating Kitchen (Vietnam), Coffee Cart (Argentina), and Hot Dog Stand (USA), from
from “Global Street Food,” by Mike Meiré, imm cologne 09 :: via designboom

Originally published at culture-making.com.

Two worlds, one club

An artist creates a fascinating—and functional installation piece, a full-fledged bar, restaurant, and nightclub divided (and remixed) between contemporary UK and Congolese cultures: patrons move from one to the other just by walking through the room. Of course the Congolese portions feature the ubiquitous one-piece plastic chairs.


Video: Inside Carsten Höller’s The Double Club | Culture | guardian.co.uk, 24 November 2008 :: via Anansi Chronicles, thanks Abena!

Originally published at culture-making.com.

Food stamps and farmers markets

Here’s a way of fighting hunger and obesity at the same time, by incentivising (or perhaps just enabling) healthier food choices for those on public assistance. But I wonder how many people who’d like to take advantage of such a program would actually have a farmer’s market they could easily get to? And there’s the issue that, if you’re poor and your job, time, and home situations are less stable, canned goods and fast food may be (as noted earlier) a better fit for your short-term needs.

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In the 2008 farm bill, Congress allocated $20 million for a pilot program to explore how to create incentives to purchase fruits, vegetables or other healthful foods in order to improve the diets of food stamp recipients and potentially reduce obesity. Several nonprofit groups and foundations are experimenting with similar incentives.

One is the Wholesome Wave Foundation, an organization that works to make locally grown food more widely available. In the spring, it launched a program that doubles the value of food stamps and fruit and vegetable vouchers of low-income mothers and seniors who use them at farmers markets in Connecticut, Massachusetts and California.The Wholesome Wave matching grants were an instant hit at the City Heights market in San Diego. On the first day that matching funds became available, sales using government-issued electronic benefit cards soared by more than 200 percent. In subsequent weeks, the line to receive matching vouchers formed at 7:30 a.m., and the available funds were exhausted by 9:30 a.m., just 30 minutes after the market opened.

“We’re not taking away your benefits because you spend them on Twinkies,” said Michel Nischan, a Connecticut chef and president of Wholesome Wave. “But if you decide you want to spend it on fresh tomatoes, you’ll get double your money.”


Originally published at culture-making.com.

Ontbijtje, by Robert Amesbury

Last year I helped my friend Rob with the artist’s statement to cover his then-latest gallery show, called “Pronk,” an old Dutch word used to describe, among other things, a certain sort of exuberant, luxuruious still-life painting popular in the 17th century Netherlands (pronken being a verb that means “to strut”; ontbitje, “little breakfast,” is generally food-related still life subcategory). It’s been a great joy to have a personal front-row seat to Rob’s continual vibrant exploration of the surprising intersection between old Dutch masters and contemporary pop and visual culture. Back in the day, Andy and I used one of Rob’s early paintings for the very popular cover of re:generation quarterly‘s “Evangelism” issue, linked here via the portfolio of our then-art directors (and designers of this very website), Yee Design.

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“Ontbijtje,” gouache on paper, by Robert Amesbury, from the 2007 show “Pronk” at the Bernard Toale Gallery, Boston, Bernard Toale Gallery

Originally published at culture-making.com.

A timeline of food

The site also has links to cookbooks and recipes (referring to date of publication rather than conception—hence the arrival, only last year when the New York Times found out about ’em, of Kool-Aid pickles)

a kottke.org post, 2 December 2008

The Food Timeline shows which foods were invented when. Ok, not invented, exactly, but first eaten. A tasting menu:

Pretzels, 5th century AD.
Pork and beans, 1475.
Foie gras, 1st century AD.
Croissants, 1686.
Chop suey, 1896.
Popcorn, 3600 BC.
Swedish meatballs, 1754.

(via snarkmarket)

Originally published at culture-making.com.

The first assimilation

A cultural adaption strategy for those who find themselves doubly in the minority (although, in parts of LA I suppose people of Mexican ancestry may qualify, at least in terms of numbers, for majority-culture status).

Juan Carlos Rivera knew that if he wanted to get a dishwashing job at the MacArthur Park hamburger stand, he would have to pretend to be Mexican. But the thought of lying made the Salvadoran anxious. He paced outside the restaurant, worried that his melodic Spanish accent, his use of the Central American vos, instead of the Mexican tú, would give him away. Resolving to say as little as possible, Rivera remembers steeling himself and stepping inside—into the world of Mexicanization.

In his best Mexican Spanish, the Salvadoran asked: ¿Tienen trabajo? (Do you have work?) When asked where he was born, he swallowed his pride and answered: Puebla, Mexico. The job was his. For three days, Rivera scrubbed plates in conspicuous silence. He knew the Mexican cooks were onto him. Especially the one from Puebla. “I would stay up late wondering, ‘What if they discover me? What if they take my job away? What if they beat me up?’“ Rivera said.

Twenty years later, those fears have vanished but the 35-year-old continues to pretend. Life in Southern California is just less complicated as a Mexican, he says. Fitting in is easier. He introduces himself as Mexican. He says his closest friends are from Mexico and he eats nothing but Mexican food. Rivera and thousands of other Central and South American immigrants have left their native countries only to arrive in an American city dominated by Mexicans, who comprise L.A.’s largest Latino group and have access to most of the jobs sought by immigrants. The metropolis drives many to Mexicanize, to degrees big and small, often before they start to Americanize.


from “Central American immigrants adopt Mexican ways in U.S.,” by Esmeralda Bermudez, Los Angeles Times, 3 November 2008

Originally published at culture-making.com.

Philosophy of leftovers

I always like to work on leftovers, doing the leftover things. Things that were discarded, that everybody knew was no good, I always thought had a great potential to be funny … I’m not saying that popular taste is bad and so that what’s left over from the bad taste is good: I’m saying that what’s left over is probably bad, but if you can take it and make it good or at least interesting, then you’re not wasting as much as you would otherwise. … I deviate from my philosophy of using leftovers in two areas: (1) my pet, and (2) my food.

The Philosophy of Andy Warhol, p.93–94

Originally published at culture-making.com.

If There Ever Was: A Book of Extinct and Impossible Smells

It’s a little hard to talk about “conceptual scent art” or “scratch-and-sniff technology” without feeling a little silly—maybe there’s a set of French words that make it all sound more important. But I can’t help but feel that aroma is creatively underutilized. Not that there isn’t a scent aspect to all sorts of cultural products and endeavors, but that we don’t talk about it much, and often don’t really notice smells (at least in non-food-related endeavors) unless something’s amiss.

a Cool Hunting post by Doug Black, 5 September 2008

Robert Blackson is a trailblazer in the nascent field of conceptual scent art. He recently curated an exhibition at the Reg Vardy Gallery in Sunderland, England, that took viewers through fourteen significant points in time and space using only the olfactory sense.

The concept, according to Blackson, came from reading Eric Schlosser’s “Fast Food Nation.” The book mentions how food corporations can use artificial chemicals to engineer smells and tastes that replicate virtually any substance. With this in mind, Blackson tasked perfumers, chemists, botanists and even a NASA scientist to engineer smells that most humans might never experience. Scents created include everything from long extinct plants to the fragrance immediately following an atomic bomb explosion. They even recreated the smell of the surface of the Sun, which scientists approximated by using the scents of seven earth metals heated to their melting point.

If There Ever Was” is the companion book to the art exhibit. It features paper inserts that correspond to the exhibit smells, all manifested through scratch-and-sniff technology. That way, you can smell the putrid odor of Russian gym socks on the Mir space station without having to leave the comfort of your home. “If There Ever Was” costs $25 in the Cornerhouse store.

via Fed By Birds

Originally published at culture-making.com.