The Flow of Improvised Meals, 2
It was fun to create the first ”Flow of Improvised Meals” for the Just Food Conference in February. Since it was so well received, I decided to do another one for my presentation at the 2012 Brooklyn Food Conference this past weekend. You can view it, below.
This new sketch charts the movement of three ingredients–spring onions, peas in the pod, and pecorino cheese–turned into many possible meals. Pecorino cheese plays an obvious role in pasta, but its rinds find their way into cheesestock, the basis for a rich, but light soup, or risotto. Tough pea pods, otherwise largely inedible, are blanched and pureed with olive oil and lemon, then strained to make a bright, fresh, silky sauce. The blanching liquid, also used to cook the spring onion stalks and peas themselves, is made into ice cubes for bloodymarys. The peas, meanwhile, get pureed and paired with the spring onion braising liquid, plus a few eggs, and turned into a custard. The iterations continue…
The key to this kind of improvisation is to follow each ingredient’s lead. To cook a single item on its own terms, for its own sake, and not with an end dish in mind. To see, with our help, how far each ingredient can reach. The aim is not to make use of every scrap and end of food, only, but to employ every ingredient–no matter how familiar–as impetus for exploration, an opening for experimentation, and a launching point for new tastes.
Thanks, again, to former Purple Kale intern, Diana Vassar, for sketching my interplay of ideas into artistic form.
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