Wednesday, July 8, 2009

09/07/08: Test Meals

So I think that as part of the "HOW" of my thesis, I'd like to perform a series of test meals - meals that provoke thoughts about different aspects food/cooking and about what I think it means to "savour" a place...

These are a few of my first ideas...

EARTH (baking, cooking, fire) - a meal cooked and served inside one of the old colonial-era kilns on the Niagara Escarpment near my parents' house
  • below grade, embedded into escarpment - in tall cylindrical volume made of bricks, open to air above
  • clay-cooking, need hammer to break open vessels after cooked.
  • potery vessels to eat from
  • root vegetables
  • candle lighting

ENERGY (fuel, sunlight) - a meal cooked on the hood of a car on a hot summer day

  • in parking lot by the beach
  • no shade around - people to endure heat of sun (either fry themselves or put on protection)
  • eggs, bacon, tea, etc.

CONSUMPTION (biting, chewing, swallowing)

  • eating typical meal, but with rhythm in background - each minor beat signifying a chew (25-50 times per mouthful) and each major beat signifying a bite
  • awareness of one's own chewing rhythm, one's lack of appropriate disintegration of food prior to swallowing, comparative speeds of eating

TRAVEL DISTANCE (curiosities)

  • meal with dishes of food located at separate tables at distances away from dining table in accordance to relative distance of source of the ingredients.
  • people have to get up from table to get food - how far will they go?
  • what role does convenience take?
  • what role does curiousity take?

09/07/08: Eating Designer link...

Monday, July 6, 2009

09/07/06: the HOW...

… the methods for discerning and appreciating a place’s resources and assets …

Formal Education/ Book (Factual) Knowledge
What is unique about the physiographic conditions?
What are the governing economic conditions of the area?
What is unique about the cultural background of the residents?

Stories/ Inherited Knowledge
What are the ideals residents hold particularly dear?
What are the family values?
What are the celebrated traditions?
What are some of the prized family recipes?
What are local “favourites” when it comes to foods, restaurants, vendors and general places to visit?
How does one know when a food is ready to be eaten?

Experience/ Empirical Knowledge
What does the food taste like?
What is the flavour similar to?
How is the flavour different from other similar foods?
What does the food look like?
Is the colour and/or shape different from "the norm"?
What is the visual texture like?
What does the food smell like?
What are the nuances - the hints of other known scents?
What does the food feel like in your mouth?
What does the food feel like in your hands?
What sounds are associated with eating the food?

Practice/ Working Knowledge
What are the techniques - the "tricks of the trade" - that bring out the best in a food? – the cutting/prepping/frying/cooking/baking/assembling, etc…
What flavour combinations work well together?
What colour combinations/proportions make the food more appealing to the eye?
What visual texture combinations make the food more appealing to the eye?
What physical texture combinations make the food more appealing to the mouth?

09/07/06: the WHAT...

... the resources and assets of a place ...

Physiography/ Geography
What can we grow here?
What are the geological and climatic conditions?
What foods are indigenous?
What is cultivated now versus when the area was first settled?
What do the geological and climatic conditions produce particularly well?
What grows there easiest and results in the best quality product?
What is in season?
What are the seasonal patterns of growing/harvesting/producing that need to be considered?

Economy/ Industry
What are the current agricultural practices and where are they heading?
What processed foods have historically been produced in the area?
What is currently being manufactured in the area and what is the future of those industries?
What can be bought at the road-side stands, the market, and the grocery store?
What are the economic demographics of the residents?

What were (are) the settlement patterns and how have they affected food production?
What significant (shared) past experiences have shaped the ideals and memories of the residents?
What are some of the personal memories that shape the residents ideal and memories?

What is the heritage/ethnic origin of the residents?
What are the traditions of those cultures?
What are the ideals of those cultures?
What sets of skills were brought to the area by settlers?

09/07/06: The WHAT, the HOW, and the WHY . . .

OK, so I may have to alter the three main sections of my thesis from "Availability, Discernment and Advocation" to the 1. WHAT, 2. HOW, 3. WHY
... but perhaps it should be ordered the 1. WHY, 2. WHAT, 3. HOW...

WHAT... are the material resources and cultural assets?

HOW... can one gain understanding and appreciation?

WHY... should one learn to savour the seemingly insignificant qualities in people, places and things?