Love in the Time of Coriander

Thoughts on food & more.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Experiments Already Underway

E & I stopped into a small, independent bookstore in Point Reyes Station, which had a table devoted to the subculture of organic farming and general food-related items. On that table, I noticed a book called Everything I Ate, recently published by Chronicle Books. In it, the author Tucker Shaw, a writer of teen fiction and amateur photographer, chronicles through photography, every morsel he put in his mouth in the year 2004. I was intrigued but couldn't help but feel envious. These days, it's hard to shrug the envy of my peer's cultural production and see the thing produced for itself. It didn't help that Tucker was still youthfully good looking, too!

Admittedly, Tucker Shaw's experiment is brilliant. To see not just the notes of each mini-feast, be it pretzels or fois gras, but the actual photographs is, frankly, stunning. It is a stark reminder of the ways in which eating is, for most of us, simulataneously a low- and high-brow activity. Unlike E, who I have mentioned is more discriminating about food consumption than I am, I'm likely to dine at Taco Bell for lunch and Zuni Cafe for dinner. This comes to life in Shaw's book, where some meals are fantastic for both their artistic as well as culinary qualities. Other bites of the day are as simple (or processed) as a handful of peanut M-and-M's.

E jokes that I am planning meals just after eating. He thinks this is silly but is also aware that he benefits greatly from my constant attention to food. Like a 1950s housewife, I free him up to think about other, ostensibly more important things. But unlike that antiquated stereotype of a housewife, I'm closer to my mom's version of a homemaker. I make things I absolutely love and want to eat. My dining whims are as unpredictable as the fog, and because E does not crave differences in taste daily, I can follow the tides of my own tastes. I can make whatever pleases me, and, most likely, it will please him, too. Two birds with one precise stone. I do believe this is what people call lucky.

In the vein of Shaw's experiments, I would like to chronicle all the meals that I make this summer in the hopes that what I will do for myself is to transcribe the recipes which I continually create but are lost with the making. I am a cook of two extremes. Either I follow recipes to the tee or I put things together without any outside direction. Either extreme is valuable. In one case, I can know how to return to something that exists our there (I rarely keep and organize things I make from recipes) and I will capture in print and in photographs, my own style of cooking.

So, today I frolicked at the Berkeley Farmers' Market, knowing that I craved a good corn chowder. The organic farms are at their peak with summer veggies. It wasn't hard to spot ears of fresh corn, heirloom tomatoes, and peaches. Here's what I made:

Corn Chowder with Tomato Relish

Ingredients for Chowder: organic white sweet corn, organic carrots, organic celery, haricot vert, yellow onion, sage, thyme, rosemary, oregano, free range chicken broth, heavy whipping cream, butter, olive oil, salt and pepper. (All herbs were from my garden.)

Ingredients for the Tomato Relish: heirloom tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.

Fresh Peach Filo Tart

Ingredients: Filo Pastry (frozen but thawed), one yellow sweet peach, organic raw sugar, and unsalted butter.

Cheers to fine summer cooking!


At 11:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did something incredibly similar to Tucker Shaw in 2004. I kept a list of everything that I ate and drank for all 366 days. I also photographed myself every week and logged all my exercise as my weight went from 213 to 173.

Pages of photos and lists:

WEEKLY PHOTOGRAPHS Every Thursday from Jan 1 to Dec 30.
53 side view photographs of me, wearing only a pair of gym shorts:

FOOD AND DRINK LIST Everything I ate and drank in 2004:



BEFORE AND AFTER PHOTOGRAPHS: Wed Dec 31 2003 and Fri Dec 31 2004:


Dan MacKenzie,
Waltham, MA

At 1:37 PM, Blogger the food therapist said...

At one of the museums in Los Angeles (I can't remember if it was the LACMA or the MoCA) a few years back, there was a retrospective of the artist Eleanor Antin. In it, she did a similar project, in which she documented a weight loss through photographs over a period of time. Here's a link to it:


Post a Comment

<< Home