Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Huge Thank You to All !

Thank you all for participating in last nights Cyber Dinner !
Lisa and I were thrilled with the terrific turnout, conversation, and laught .
We will keep you updated as to future Cyber Dinners that will take place during the coming months !

Boston Picts

Hi All! Thanks so much for participating in our first Cyberbanquet Experiment! We will be writing more soon. I wanted to share with you photos from Boston. Also here is a link to the story of Purim which I think my guests & I didn't tell very well to someone who asked and we probably made it out to be something it's not. The main heroine is Esther, a woman in the harem of a Persian king and the conflict with the king's evil advisor Haman who doesn't like her or her cousin. We celebrate her daring to speak up to her king in a time when women could be killed for doing so. The evil person is kind of a Dick Cheney character, power hungry second-in-command.
Thanks again! Lisa : )

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Oklahoma Greetings via barbed wire

Hi Everyone,

Within a few days of the invitation to the cyber banquet, I received an invitation to a friend's for wine and food to take place at the specified day and time. There's a great collection of people here. But unfortunately, there is no high speed internet and no Skype to be accessed. Our host said that his internet connection was via barbed wire.

But I wanted to let everyone know that I am thinking of them and hoping that their food and the stories are as wonderful as mine.

There will be plenty of images and more to share post banquet.


Good Evening!

Welcome to the Cyberbanquet - to connect, give Lisa or Io a call on their cells and we'll work on connecting through Skype.

Map of the Cyber Banquet

View Cyber Banquet#1 in a larger map

Ten Eggplants, Over Easy

For the last few days my inner soundtrack has featured classic Sesame Street counting songs. My favorite, over course, is all about food. Remember the ten tiny turtles talking to the grocery man?

Sesame Street: Number 10 Song on YouTube

Friday, February 26, 2010

Potatoes and Memories

Sometime in the early 80's the classic " Indian Cooking" by Madhur Jaffrey came my way. Since we were students, aloo gobi, potatoes and cauliflower with cumin and other spices was an inexpensive yet hearty dish that we could make.

It's been many years and my cookbook collection has grown considerably. Recipes don't get lost, but rather buried in the accumulating stack of books and magazines. But surprisingly, aloo gobi wells up from time to time.

What better time than now to make it?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

POT LUCK a night of potatoes and poetry, pictures and prose

at the home of Priscilla Briggs and Christopher Weber
Lovers and Children are welcome...

A Lemon, by Pablo Neruda

Out of lemon flowers
on the moonlight, love's
lashed and insatiable
sodden with fragrance,
the lemon tree's yellow
the lemons
move down
from the tree's planetarium

Delicate merchandise!
The harbors are big with it--
for the light and the
barbarous gold.
We open
the halves
of a miracle,
and a clotting of acids
into the starry
original juices,
irreducible, changeless,
so the freshness lives on
in a lemon,
in the sweet-smelling house of the rind,
the proportions, arcane and acerb.

Cutting the lemon
the knife
leaves a little
alcoves unguessed by the eye
that open acidulous glass
to the light; topazes
riding the droplets,
aromatic facades.

So, while the hand
holds the cut of the lemon,
half a world
on a trencher,
the gold of the universe
to your touch:
a cup yellow
with miracles,
a breast and a nipple
perfuming the earth;
a flashing made fruitage,
the diminutive fire of a planet.

Winter in Chicago

I've been becoming more locavore-conscious, but I still love things like red quinoa, avocados, and oranges. Some of the local/Midwest food I've been enjoying during this long Chicago winter: (heirloom) acorn squash (roasted with olive oil is amazing), potatos, and apples from Michigan. I've been getting most of my local stuff, which is so beautiful, not in a fake pristine way, but in a natural, scarred way, at The Dill Pickle Co-Op, which recently opened. Chicago really needed a food co-op!
Potatos and apples - the two pommes in French. The How To Bake A Potato website gave me a great tip: coating the potato with oil before baking, which gives it a wonderful, delicious skin. Or I grate a potato right into a cast iron skillet for some fast hash browns, or make potato soup with kale (which I'll be making for the cyber banquet). Why do kale and potatos go so well together? These potato/kale enchiladas are one of the most amazing things I've ever made. I've been cutting an apple in half every morning, using the AM half for my winter breakfast of oatmeal, and then using the PM half to put in my soygurt with raw agave nectar. Yum.
Even though I've been enjoying winter and winter food, I'm looking forward to the first local-food-signs of Spring - garlic scapes and ramps. My sister once stir fried garlic scapes with olive oil and white wine, served them over pasta, and I was forever changed.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Who Wants Grocery Stores When There Are Parties?

When was the last time you heard a supermarket described as "a giant party"? If you're from the Boston area like me, probably never. Unless you hear references to the Donner Party getting it right because cannibalism is more attractive than shopping in tiny aisles full of aggressive cart-pushers.

I'm in the West for the winter, though, where the rules for grocery stores are different. When I heard Pros Ranch Market in Phoenix described as a kind of festival full of cheap Mexican food, I made a b-line.

Ranch Market y Tradiciones
[Photo credit: Ranch Market y Tradiciones, by phxpma]

Yes indeed, it's just like a kid's birthday party with a noisy Mexican soundtrack and multi-colored streamers on the ceiling fans. The difference is the grownups go home the prizes: tamales and fresh masa and a tongue-sizzling array of chili peppers. Half the store is given to Mexican-accented groceries, with separate departments for bakery items, fruity drinks, fish and a killer meat counter, and the other half is a food court.

Aguas Frescas
[Photo credit: Aguas Frescas, by phxpma]

When I say food court, I don't mean Sbarro and Quiznos. I mean these guys are making their own food and selling it fast and cheap. A massive grill is lined with split chickens. A volcano-sized molcajete brims with fresh guacamole. Back by the fish department, tanks are swimming with live fish – you can bet those tilapia are leaping straight from the water into your cabbage-lined fish taco. And you, humble shopper, can have these delights in exchange for a few dollars. A quintet of soft tortillas filled with freshly made carne asada or chicken or carnitas and smothered with sauces is about $4.

And the tortillas! They make both corn and flour tortillas fresh, beginning with whole ears of corn. That's right, they roll in massive bins of corn on the cob, shuck it, boil it, work their masa magic, and out from a big conveyor belt come hot tortillas, straight into bags and left to gently cool on the shelf. I haven't felt anything so warm and comforting since the moment before I was born.

Tortilla Machine

[Photo credit: Tortilla Machine, by seantoyer]

While most American supermarkets give more floor space to ads and counter space to vegetables that look and taste just like wax, Ranch Market is a treat. After all, who wants to do weekly grocery shopping when they can go to a fiesta instead?

Cyberfeast -- Chinese New Year's Williston North Dakota

Chinese New Year (the Year of the Tiger began on 2/14) is the most important cultural Chinese celebration, lasting up to 15 days. On February 27th (still within the official 15-day celebration period!), we will be having a tiny family celebration in Williston, North Dakota (well, as "tiny" as it can be with four children, two adults, and hopefully some guests). The Chinese population in Williston is truly tiny but the Chinese celebratory spirit is (and will be on February 27th) HUGE!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cyber Banquet #1

Post images & words & comments here from
Serve & Project's Cyber Banquet #1
2/27/2010 5:30 PST, 6:30 MST, 7:30 CST, and 8:30 EST

Join us for a global feast taking place February 27.
The inspiration is National Potato Lover's Month, National Kalua Day and the first night of the Jewish Holiday , Purim.

Artists Lisa Link and Io Palmer together make Serve and Project- a public art initiative that invites community to creatively collaborate about the making, production, and consumption of food.

To celebrate National Potato Lover's Month (USA), and foster global dialogue, we invite you to participate in our inaugural Cyber Banquet Project by assembling a gathering of food and friends on the weekend of February 27th.

The Cyber Banquet Project will be featured at Here There and Everywhere - an exhibition that is part of Trans Cultural Exchange's international conference held in Boston in 2011,

Depending on where you are on the planet, this feast may be a pajama party, early morning breakfast or a midnight festivity. The idea is for all of us, across the globe to simultaneously be eating, talking, and contributing to the cyber-banquet blog.

Join in the long tradition of artists who create artwork about food as well as the artists who embrace a "conceptual" approach to the creation of art. For Serve &Project, the art is the communication.

Pre-Banquet Activities and Settings:

Items you will need include:
  • One computer or mobile device
  • Digital camera
  • Audio recorder (if available)
  • Internet access (Skype or something similar)
  • Paper or cloth napkins, pen and pencils
To creatively record this event we ask that hosts make available some type of recording device such as , paper or cloth napkins for participants to draw on, a digital camera or audio recording device to record banquet conversation.