Monday, December 16, 2013

We Are the Media &: Amanda Palmer at the IPRC

"Ampersand—evil connector ... or zen koan?"
—Amanda Palmer intro to "Ampersand," performed at the IPRC

When I'm working with people, I always ask for prompts or themes that will help guide what we put together. In this case, the theme was, "We Are the Media &." 

This phrase exemplifies the spirit of the fans that raised over a million dollars for Amanda Palmer's crowdsourcing campaign to fund her post Dresden Dolls album, galvanizing people to donate a record $1.2 million, the most money raised for a music project on Kickstarter

She has this idea that when you connect with people and ask for help, that people will want to give. Please see her performative and really lovely talk on this subject about both her ardent fan base and her description of the vulnerability and beauty of asking via her TED talk, "The Art of Asking." To read a critical opinion of Ms. Palmer's call for unpaid volunteers to perform as opening acts on her tour in the wake of her wildly successful kickstarter campaign, please see the New Yorker blog.

Inspired to think further about "We are the media &,"  I connected this idea to political protest and the powerful role that social media can play. So the menu for this event was inspired by countries where this has been important—for instance, Egypt—and also by places where social media is banned; this includes China, Myanmar and Ethiopia. 

For people in the U.S., social media can exist as entertainment, simply a fun and easy way to connect. It's important for me to remember that in some countries, social media is a powerful community builder that is suppressed by government officials who fear protests and dissenting voices. 

Food is a great medium to promote this conversation—it can be delicious, inviting and also provocative. In the tradition of Lawrence and Anna Halprin's RSVP Cycles, a menu is a score for an interactive experience, a dynamic exchange between the composer/author/artist and the audience/auditors/eaters. We are always thinking about how to invite conversation, and we are very fortunate to have such a muse for this occasion. Cheers to you, AFP! 


Indonesian-spiced rice with watermelon radish
Pickled seaweed
Javanese pickled carrot, cucumber and shallot with turmeric and ginger
Soy and citrus sauce

Candied fish, salmon roe and flying fish roe

Dates, chorizo, cheese
Dates, warmed and salted

Fried chickpea terrine with cumin salt
Muhammara—roasted red pepper and walnut dip
bread crisps

Seared steak with shiso

Farm cheese with harissa-North African chile sauce
Farm cheese with za’ataar – sesame, sumac and oregano spice mix
White bean dip with pistachio and parsley pesto-

Coconut balls with green tea cashew cream and goji berries
Cocoa nib chocolate cookies
Sheep’s milk yogurt cake with caramelized pink lady apple

Listen to Amanda Palmer's into to "Ampersand:" 

Listen to a few playful chords of her "Freebird" cover: 

Cradle of FlavorHome Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore

By James Oseland

By Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford

Burma: Rivers of Flavor
By Naomi Duguid

Mourad: New Moroccan
By Mourad Lahlou

The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa
By Marcus Samuelsson

Ani’s Raw Food Asia: Easy East-West Fusion Recipes
By Ani Phyo

Fall: Cobalt 60 Mutagenic BBQ Sauce

Unknown to many...common foods on our supermarket shelves are products of mutagenesis where scientists in a laboratory bombard seeds or plants with radiation—such as with cobalt-60 or gamma rays—to induce mutations.  

The Cobalt 60 bbq sauce highlights five key mutagenic supermarket foods: Rio Red Grapefruit, Milns Golden Promise Barley, Todd’s Mitcham Peppermint, Calrose 76 Rice and Soy. 

The recipe is a blend of old and new food technologies: an ancient Aztec/Mayan recado replete with a variety of chile and aromatic spices that is then combined with supermarket mutants to produce a sauce that is deliciously didactic. For more pictures and information, please see here and here

Summer quick mention: Lisbon Architecture Triennale

Oh wow, we've been so busy—August/September in Lisbon developing  menus and training culinary students for an installation at a seventeenth-century palace for the architecture triennale—please check out snowstudio and see here and here for more pics.