Skip to main content

The Seasonal Table

Dear all,

One of your four portfolio pieces this year will constitute a report on a project to be realized on 10-5, Thursday Week 3 (October 17th) as part of the Future Foodscapes project

http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/cross_fac/gpp/foodsecurity/themes/arts/growwarwick/

initiated by Susan and with which I am heavily involved. The project consists of a number of installations around campus that seek to draw attention to the possibilities for cultivating and consuming food in our immediate environment, mindful of both locality and seasonality.

The assignment for the Food and Performance group is focused on food consumption. The venue is the upstairs bar area of the Warwick Arts Centre. Each of the four groups identified below has been allocated a square table on which they will prepare an edible foodscape that illustrates the food that is available in their designated month. We would like these foodscapes to illustrate the food being grown - a tableau of cultivation of one or more of the items that can be harvested and consumed in the assigned month constructed from edible elements.

The four groups

WINTER (FEBRUARY)

Bethany Holmes

Georganna Simpson

Olivia Beer

Robbie Foulston

Rosalie McCann

SPRING (MAY)

Anna Canlan-Shaw

Francesca Newell

Jessica Hain

Joanne Honnor

Katherine Thorogood

SUMMER (AUGUST)

Emily Turner

Juliet Clark

Kyoka Okuda

Nicola Hancox

Rachel Johnson

AUTUMN (NOVEMBER)

Arthur Jones

Faye Sheffield

Leah Eggleton

Madeleine Hindes

Zowie Wood


The tables (which will be those from downstairs in the Arts Centre – dimensions to follow) will be accompanied by menu boards that should indicate the assigned month and information you consider pertinent to the display (eg all the produce available to you, the methods of preparation, visual elements as appropriate. A visualization of this is included below and I have sized the boards as A3 portrait

Fig 1. Visualisation of 4 tables with menu boards

The key requirements are

  1. To focus on those foods that can be harvested locally and consumed in your assigned month

  2. To construct the tableau to illustrate the foods being grown

  3. To construct the scene out of edible items

  4. To create a tableau that can be displayed for 7 hours and then consumed at the end of the period

The task has a number of components that you may wish to distribute amongst the group:

  1. Research into what food can be harvested in your assigned month

  2. Research into techniques of preparing these foods for display and consumption

  3. Generation of idea for tableau

  4. Acquisition of food items

  5. Construction of tableau

  6. Arrangements for keeping the food chilled and hygienic

  7. Serving of food at the conclusion of the display

  8. Removal of tableau after the consumption period

To assist you in each of these I have provided some information below:

Research into what food can be harvested in your assigned month

Search the information on http://eattheseasons.co.uk - this provides week by week lists (if you click on different parts of the month’s name it gives you one of the weeks in that month)

Research into techniques of preparing these foods for display and consumption

The finer elements of molecular gastronomy call for equipment and craft that are unlikely to be acquired within the timescale and resources to hand but they should provide some inspiration:

Heston Blumenthal
Both series of Heston’s Fantastical Feastsare a great source of inspiration. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofKHq7CRonw (Heston's guests eat his edible graveyard) for example. There are many more clips on youtube and several complete episodes on a new service available to Warwick called BOB (Box of Broadcasts), as per Richard Perkins’ email below:

“AV Services have decided to subscribe to the British Universities Film & Video Council service “Box of Broadcasts”, presumably to eventually replace the off-air recording-to-DVD service. BoB allows you to “record” TV programmes and radio broadcasts from the next 7 days, or retrieve them from the previous 7 days.

[…]

Authentication is via the Shibboleth system, so, on the BoB website - http://bobnational.net/ - type Warwick in the “Where are you from?” box, click the link and the “ Go to login” button. Then sign in with your normal University username & password.”

Recipies for some of the items featured can be found in

Blumenthal, Heston. Heston's Fantastical Feasts. London: Bloomsbury, 2010. Print.

An extract is below – the text will be in my office from the start of term if you wish to use it

Molecular Gastronomy

More a source of inspiration but see http://www.molecularrecipes.com/

On this page is a recipe for edible sand http://www.molecularrecipes.com/transformation/sea-garnish-edible-sand-sea-foam-seafood/


Alicia Rios – Urbanophagy (Eating the City)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvbo0KRDABo

Carl Warner

http://www.carlwarner.com/foodscapes/

Other
This restaurant in the Barrio Alto area of Lisbon took inspiration from the clothes-lines hung across the streets around the restaurant to present pieces of salted cod (baccalà) as shown


Generation of idea for tableau

Think about the sites where food might be grown, from formal plots – allotments, gardens, window boxes – to unexpected locales – wild plants by a fence, a railway line or the intervention of guerilla gardening.







Acquisition of food items

Key considerations

  1. cost – the budget is £40 per group

  2. seasonality – your central ingredients should be local and seasonal

  3. ethical & ecological concerns – can you get the items from an independent producer/supplier

  4. storage – how can you ensure that they will remain viable to eat


Construction of tableau

Allocation of labour

Do you need non-food items to support the structure?

General logistics of executing the tableau


Arrangements for keeping the food chilled and hygienic

Means to keep the food fresh eg undertray of ice to keep the food chilled

Does the tableau need to be covered?

Involvement of 1stYears

Susan is working with CPP students on the project – who have their own element – and some of them will be available to ‘ service’ the Seasonal Tables you will be creating. My initial thoughts are that there would be one per table, performing a role part gallery-attendant, part-waiter and possibly replenishing the display (if viewers are informed that they consume the food at their own risk this can be done) and refreshing it – rather like stylists at a photo shoot. You may wish to have input as to how each of these might be employed.

Serving of food at the conclusion of the display
How much food is there and how many people will it feed?
How will you chose/invite people to eat the food – just the group? Invited friends? Some invite that accompanies the display that requires prospective eaters to sign up and eat at a pre-determined time?

Removal of tableau after the consumption period

Can any of the food be kept for later consumption?
What cleaning products are needed to return the tables to their original condition?
Where will waste be disposed?