the food thing
update - november 2011
The "food thing" is an ongoing strand of activity through GradCAM that looks at the culture and politics of food. A key action within this framework is the compilation of a recipe book - The GradCAM Cookbook - which is a collection of recipes and other texts/images related to the hospitality practices and food-based-artworks developed by researchers and associate researchers attached to the School. The Cookbook will be published initially as a series of .pdfs online combining recipes with supplementary materials that indicate the larger concerns of the project.
Since the initiation of the project - co-curated by Edia Connole, Martin McCabe, Lisa Godson and Mick Wilson - there has been a preliminary collation of recipes, a series of meal-events combining food and discussion, and a building of networks of dialogue around questions of food, foodways and foodscapes. In this way we have begun an exploration of the potential of food and foodways to form a point of entry into questions of globalisation, the ordinary scale of day-to-day living and the critical potentials of cultural work.
Events organised under the rubric of the "food thing" include:
- Edia Connole & Scott Wilson "Radical Love" En soirée Culinaire par Georges Bataille Dublin, Ireland [19/11/2011]
- Mick Wilson "Our Day Will Come" School Dinners Hobart, Tasmania [20/9 - 27/9 - 4/10 - 11/1/ 2011]
- Brown&Brí, Daniel Jewesbury, Cliona O'Sullivan On Food as a Commons Dublin, Ireland [17/11/2011]
- Edia Connole & Scott Wilson Deleuzian Feast Dublin, Ireland [17/2/2011]
- the programme of hospitality events for guest lecturers, visiting scholars and conference delegates [2008-ongoing]
If you would like to be added to our mailing list or if you would like to organise an event or discusssion as part of the food thing: please email mick.wilson(at)gradcam.ie
For the Bataille feast - Les Yeux de le Prête Farcis
(Stuffed Eyes of the Priest) were prepared. [19/11/2011]
'The food thing' - also called 'The GradCAM Cookbook'- is an initiative in response to a number of conversations arising among researchers, associates, colleagues and collaborators. There is no single context for this project. Indeed many factors have prompted us to talk and think about food.
While there is an established tradition of art projects that thematise or use food (or 'the meal') as a key thought-image or practice - for example see the project “ To Eat or Not to Eat” Salamanca, Spain, November 2002-January 2003 and see also collapse exciting new journal - we are also witnessing the intensification and renewal of debates on the politics of food production, distribution and consumption. After many years of popular media programmes on cooking and food we have witnessed in the last decade, an unprecedented rise to prominence of the celebrity 'chef' - in some instances, aspiring to the condition of public intellectual.
The media focus on a range of dietary preparation and consumption practices has foregrounded all kinds of complicated micro- and macro- political themes: gender, domesticity, the service industry and the public sphere; obesity, health, school meals, public health and private industry; fair trade, GM foodstuffs, the ecopolitics of food, agragrian monocultures and sustainable countrysides; "food-miles", "food security" and "grow-your-own"; cultural diaspora, fusion, creolisation and practices of hospitality and the production of the social.
It is also worth noting the gustatory sense at the root of our aesthetic discourses - "taste" - and the complex ways in which questions of food re-instate the body, and the reproduction of the body's powers. On the other hand, Lévi Strauss's famous theme of "the raw and the cooked" also points us to the longstanding anthropological and ethnographic engagement with questions of food and the ordering of social, spatial and even ontological relations in the cultural imaginary of food. Working ideas in another direction, we can see that the erasure and construction of cultural difference through the clichés of cuisine - "indian" "chinese" "italian" "thai" - and the ideas of authenticity thus produced indicates another dimension within which to think about food culture. (See Arjun Appadurai, ‘How to Make a National Cuisine: Cookbooks in Contemporary India’, Comparative Studies of Society and History, 30:1, 1988) The familiar trope of "conspicuous consumption" also suggests the potential primacy of food practices as central to ` social, cultural and economic reproduction.
Food and the questions of health, nourishment and sustainability, and the issues of wealth and poverty, that accompany discussions of food must surely take on a new urgency when we are in a time of unprecedented financial austerity and wealth shrinkage / displacement in the Irish state.
There is food enough here for a banquet of thought: but we propose to begin with a humble meal. We are inviting you to propose recipes to develop this conversation further.
ideas from elsewhere
In the Autumn semester of 2010 we were delighted to have researchers from a culinary history background join as new participants in the GradCAM community of researchers. They have brought with them the potential for a new conversation on the culture of food. In this semester also we were very honoured to have the great Japanese philosopher, cultural critic and political theorist, Kojin Karatani, join researchers from the Praxis Seminar group in a meal prepared collaboratively by the members of the group. This event was consistent with a broader practice of preparing meals, welcoming visitors to the School and bringing researchers together in an informal, relaxed and conversational encounter that supplements, enhances and often re-defines the formal encounters of the conference, the lecture theatre or the seminar room. Also, this autumn, the Dutch artist Jeanne van Heeswijk presented the Graduate School community with a further opportunity to think about food production and critical cultural practice when she described the extraordinary 'market' project in Rotterdam. She spoke about this project as part of the Artizen Autumn School (Blue Drum) Keynote Lecture and she described working with local market stall-holders to grow new food production enterprises as an integral part of a multi-stage activist programme.
These many different discussions and interactions over and about food have given rise to this new initiative to share and exchange recipes as a small first tentative step into a challenging terrain of critical cultural practice. This is our first move in trying to open up a range of potential dialogues on the politics, conviviality and poesis of food. It begins in an invitation by way of a "taster" to see if people might "bite", or even "dig in!"
We invite anyone attached to GradCAM as a fellow, visiting lecturer, associate, researcher, friend, well-wisher, engaged onlooker etc., - or simply as someone who is actively interested in these questions of the politics, conviviality and poesis of food - to submit a recipe (starter, main, dessert, breakfast, brunch, snack, dip, preserve, pickle, hors d’oeuvre, whatever dish, or non-dish even, that you like...)
These are some simple guidelines to make it easy - but of course, make it difficult also if you prefer...
The recipe should be written by you (individually or collectively but not copied substantially from an existing source).
The ROLLING DEADLINE we welcome recipes on a rolling basis - so get cooking/thinking/eating/writing - firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following template is recommended as a structure:
- Name of Dish
- Type of Dish - (starter, main, dessert, breakfast, brunch, salad, snack, preserve, pickle, hors d’oeuvre)
- Ingredients (including quantities – metric preferred but challenge us if appropriate)
- Preparation Time
- Cooking Time
- Instructions / Technique
- Goes With – wine, milk, beer, water, juice, tea, a gang, a good book...other accompaniments
- Your Name - and some details about yourself and any connection with GradCAM you might have or have had in the past.
- Why This Recipe?
- NEW IDEA! Take a picture! - If you would like to include a jpeg of the dish, this would be most welcome also.
What's in a recipe?
In inviting you to share with us, we wish you to retain ownership of your recipe text, and only ask that you give us permission to reproduce it as part of an online publication that seeks to promote a broader conversation on the culture and politics of food.
GradCAM Team [29/11/2010]