the What's Cooking column

Communal Table is wanting to expand our voice in the blogosphere, as we are also working to expand our scope. We've begun taking the steps to incorporate, get insurance, Dept. of Health certifications, and 'official' (legal) kitchen space. Each leap requires a (monetary) commitment as well as thought and discussion about what Communal Table is, how our partnership works and what we want to work towards. I've blogged a bit about this- and will continue to because it's interesting- defining and developing a public voice.

The salon suppers stick to their themes- What's Cooking club is about collective cooking projects- but there're all sorts of other food and art related tangents Deena and I engage and would like to share and so increased blog presence will lend Communal Table backstory. We're both constantly cooking- and use bits of this and that to create meals to feed family, frequent guests and catering clients... and then there're lectures, workshops, markets, books-- our food immersed lives. Please too, we're eager to engage you- our reader/eater. Become a voice at our Communal Table rather than chimera consuming unread words!

In my kitchen this week: defrosted Dufour puff pastry dough I'd had too long... was thinking of vol-au-vents because book club is coming for supper (8 - 10 members) and vol-au-vents are mentioned in the book... but it turns out I'll be running around the day of the meeting and have to prepare in advance, so I'll make cheese sticks the night before as they require no last minute futzing. I made bacalao fritters with salt cod that had been languishing in the back of the fridge... guess book club will be tapas-like and I'll get a clean icebox outta the deal. Got some amazing liverwurst from Flying Pig farm (Union Sq. Greenmkt.) to serve w. home pickled turmeric onions and hardy rye, and a jar of Divine Brine beet caviar from the Food Shed farmer's mkt. on Atlantic Ave (great w. goat cheese.) Oh yes- gorgeous red and yellow cippolini onions to baste w. Balsamic, and baby fingerlings to roast and toss w. herbs. Marcona almonds, dried pears and homemade preserved Clementines in cardamon clove simple syrup over ice cream for dessert (tore the recipe from an old Martha Stewart mag I rescued from a dumpster in New Orleans.) Tonight's supper: wiener schnitzel, pan fried zucchini with dill, and egg noodles. The cutlets are from Lancaster Farm Fresh- an organic co-op. The label says "cruelty-free/grass-fed," so once you get past the slaughter of a baby animal... My mom used to make cutlets but I stopped eating veal in the 80's when there were international cruelty protests... then last week at the Park Slope Food Co-op: pink, lean, and my purchase would support an organic farmer's collective...

Food events: The Experimental Cuisine Collective (ECC) meets Wed. 2/16 free and open to whomever's lucy enough to get to an afternoon lecture! http://experimentalcuisine.com
This group from NYU brings science, food and the humanities together in really interesting ways- this time welcoming 'Ideas in Food', collaborators working with 'molecular gastronomy' techniques- hot water baths, pressure cookers, foam... http://www.ideasinfood.com

On my computer: I'm excited to be working on writing a curriculum for art students that uses food as an expressive medium-- am hoping upon hope I'll get an opportunity to teach such a class in the near future!
15th C, illuminated manuscript: Diners in tubs- talk about food as performance!

Also working on the Umami Food and art festival www.umamifestival2010.com fundraiser that's coming up at the Astor Ctr. end of March. We'll be showing an incredible new video by Terri Hanlon about the father of French cuisine, Antonin Carȇme, called "Meringue Diplomacy." I'm looking for folks who might like to make and display fanciful edible architectural wonders à la Carême! Please spread the word. There must be someone who wants to bask in the glory of spending hours creating awesome edible edifices for art and food loving patrons. The gala'll be really fun. Incredible hors d'oeuvres, cocktails, gift bags and sweets.
Still from Terri Hanlon's "Meringue Diplomacy "flying pink meringue and all!

The ASFS listserv http://www.food-culture.org has had a fascinating dialogue analyzing "foodie-ism." Looking at an intersection where food, like fashion, becomes "high culture," Elitism, desire, and status conjoined with necessity and hunger. It's an age old story still relevant- how do we bring eco-consciousness, and connoisseurship into concert with food justice?

Enough all ready except to say-- all of this is totally within Communal Table's scope.

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