This months erudite pst speaker proposed to "look at the future of art, science, politics, medicine, and psychiatry in the emergent practices of Schizoanalysis, Orgonomy, Theosophy, Psychedelia, and Autopoesis and present a vision of possible utopian political-economic communities." I knew I was in over my head... like what!!? Where in this was inspiration for supper? Fortunately in his 'presentation description' the speaker mentioned Hegel, Nietzsche, and German Romanticism, which I latched onto and sent an email proposing slow-cooked traditional German: Sauerbraten, sweet-n-sour cabbage and herbed spatzel.
But "No," he replied, "how 'bout something futuristic or sci-fi instead?"
Which got me thinking: molecular gastronomy, Frankenfood and highly processed simulacra (cheezzzefood anyone?) In a brief volley of current buzz words: pharmaceuticals, fermentation, DIY, we pieced together an outline: the future, hippy commune, macrobiotic, Japan, California, psychedelic...
Still even this needed coloring-in. I suggested dumpster diving and Mad Max and he countered with Barbarella- which gave me enough to begin.
Next I had the pleasure of sitting down with a food writer friend for a conversation figuring what the future might hold. We grappled with trends and ingredients to cobble an idea for a meal, a poem intertwining anxiety with hope: spiraling allergens, sodium alginate, probiotic smoothies, bacon decadence, shrink-wrap.
|kelp noodles for the wild mushroom miso|
|Spirulina tabs: highly nutrient-dense algae|
Often I'm answered with a shrug when I try to engage a non-food person in foodspeak. Its not that they don't want to respond, its that its unfamiliar to think that food is encoded with layered iconographic meanings. Whereas they hear 'green papaya pad thai' (one of the dishes I served) and think "I like pad thai, I hate cilantro," or "green papaya?" I think about immigration waves, the economic disparities of manual labor (my fingers blistered during the hours spent hand cutting papaya shreds) and dietary roller-coasters where lower carb. gluten free green papaya is celebrated as an invention in swank trendsetting Brooklyn restaurants even though A. green papaya has been consumed all over Southeast Asia for centuries and B. pad thai is traditionally made with rice noodles which are gluten free anyway.
I was criticized by one of the pst co-founders who'd been cc'd on the original Sauerbraten email. True, he's a meddler, and also maybe he tastes sour grapes at how much fun I have conversing with the presenters, but he also just doesn't speak food. He read my list of selections as a fait accompli, accusing me of leaving the presenter out of the process. Too bad he couldn't hear the list I'd emailed as me humming a few bars enticing the presenter to hum along until we found a tune to sing together.
|The menu included probiotic cocoa, avocado, and coconut milk smoothies,|
bacon pecan brownies, and individually wrapped sticks of ginseng chewing gum.