Posts in category Diary
Just yesterday I was talking with a graduation student who has a head full of commonplaces and unfortunate journalistic pseudo-truths about the environment and sustainibility, with particular reference to food. Setting aside the specific topic of bullshit ideas (such as that in the past the food was healthier and people enjoyed, as a consequence, better eating: on this topic, you can get a light introduction in Shears, P. (2010). Food fraud–a current issue but an old problem. British Food Journal, 112(2), 198-213), I was struck once again by how frequent the association between food and guilt is.
You can check out Guilt for Dinner, a short, juicy blog post that focuses on the specific guilty feeling that is born when we realize that we are not cooking the way we think we should. In the more inspired words of Denise Gershbein,
The research revealed to us an incredible pattern of guilt and
aspiration in how people eat—an embedded cycle of should/don’t/want.
Our research subjects believed there existed an ideal they had to live
up to, but none of them thought they could meet that standard, so they
felt guilty. And yet they continued to aspire to that goal.
I had the feeling that my student was laboring under the weight of strong feelings of guilt towards food. The same feelings that, it sounded like, pointed her towards vegetarianism, lately. The same feelings that make her think in mandatory terms of local production, without thinking for a second about the implications: or about how wonderful the international world of trade is and has always been historically.
But I digress: what I am driving at is that guilt, filthy guilt, is a very powerful emotional lever, and a food designer would be wise to investigate that guilt about
- being fat
- not being a good mother/cook/homemaker
- empty calories
- geese and their liver
- poor unhappy cocoa farmers
- poor unhappy Alaskan crab fishermen
- poor unhappy whale fishermen (scratch that: they are not the target of guilty feelings)
- eating GMOs
- eating frozen food
- watching food/cooking shows and then eating only frozen food
- eggs laid by poor unhappy chicken
There is, if you think of it, a large choice of food-related guilts. More or less, for every taboo or contemporary ethical (or pseudoethical, let’s not be picky) injunction, we can find a related guilt and a designerly way to use it. We can build on the guilt, and make food products for vegetarians. We can encourage users to plunge into the guilt and turn it into sinful indulgence (really irritating choice of words here), and offer them chocolate. We can try to avert the gaze of the user, for example by packaging and trimming meat so that it looks as bloodless and unrelated to animals as possible.
Or we can frankly exploit the guilt parents feel towards children (am I doing enough?) and sell… nearly anything! As long as we claim that it is educational and/or healthy.
Someone more idealistic than me should comment about using guilt as a positive force for positive effects.
I followed the recipe for gelatine filtration given in Texture (a lot of excellent stuff in there) – you can also read about it in The Curious Cook. The source material was carrots: I run some particularly unexciting and fibrous carrots through my crappy HEMA blender until I was bored – which in normal time would be two to five minutes. The resulting orange slurry was additioned with gelatine dissolved in hot water to achieve a 0.5% solution.
If you did a 0.5% agar-agar solution, once solidified you could probably walk on it. With gelatine you get a very weak gel. Don’t despair, give it the time to set properly. A few hourse in the fridge did the trick for me.
Then I took the weak, disappointing gelatine and popped it in the freezer. Then I forgot about it for a few days. When I remembered about it, it had frozen to a solid block – excellent. I then placed it in a paper coffe filter adapted to a colander and placed it all inside a recycled yogurth container. Then I forgot about it for a couple of days. As you can tell, this procedure is a sort of low intensity really slow food activity.
What I found in the container yesterday was expected but nonetheless really odd. An almost perfectly transparent essence of carrots. It tastes like carrots, but it looks exactly like water. No viscosity, no color, no suspended anything. I could place a picture of it here, but it is faster to ask you to imagine a glass of mineral water – there, you got it.
Instead, here is a picture of what was left in the filter
Pretty unappetizing, but if you look at it in detail, you can see that the spongy frozen gelatin structure is quite visible
The amount of transferred carrot taste was quite shocking. See, when you drink carrot-flavored things or eat carrot-flavored dishes like carrot cake the carrot taste is reduced to a certain, simplified carroty sweetness. In the essence you will find the complete carrot taste experience, from the first note to the carrot aftertaste. From a sensorial point of view, this is really disturbing, because it is the carrot without the carrot…
Next time I will try the filtration with something more exciting than carrots: I have read that anything water soluble works really well, and also some fat-soluble things.
Today students presented their initial ideas -some quite advanced- for innovative kitchen tools, and they were introduced to the agar agar challenge. Click on the image to download the PDF and take the challenge yourself. Unfortunately the PDF does not include any agar powder itself, but you can buy it online.
an ingredient nobody in the class was familiar from, introduced as the constituent of a light cocoa and raisin sweet. I wonder what we are going to see next time!
Agar is most commonly associated with sweets, but this is by no means necessary. I have a plan bouncing in my head to use it to turn hummus into finger food…
one of the truly new and exciting recipes I have found out about recently is chocolate chantilly. It employs the physical properties of chocolate and a thermal cycle to form a stable cream or even a crumbly foam. The recipe (also here) is due to Hervè This, and it is really simple and delicious. Somewhere I had read a hint that you can do the chantilly with any liquid, so I decided to try with marsala, an Italian sweet wine from Sicily.
I also decided to do a little experiment with the amount of liquid. I had previously did the chantilly with the same amount of water and chocolate: so a 200 grams tablet of dark semisweet chocolate with 200 grams of water. I suspect that the cocoa in the chocolate is what does all the work in the recipe, and in fact when I tried it with milk chocolate (that always has much less cocoa) it did not work so readily.
Boldly, I added 150 grams of marsala to 120 grams of dark chocolate (68% cocoa). I melted it in a steel bowl placed insde a pot of water, and as soon as the chocolate had started melting I boldly added all of the marsala (if you add it a little bit at a time the chocolate "seizes", which is something you don’t want) and whisked it all together. I had a nice liquid cream, very liquid, and then I transfered the bowl into another bowl full of ice and water (the very plain bowls IKEA sells work really well for this), and I started whisking. The mixture chilled, it started forming bubbles, but no matter how much I chilled it it would not thicken. Not enough cocoa!
The beautiful thing about chantilly is that it is rather forgiving: if this happens, you can just return the whole mess to the pot of hot water and add more chocolate. This I did: 40 more grams of chocolate. Melt, whisk together until smooth. I returned to the ice bowl, and it all came together very satisfying, just like theory says. I whipped it until it became crumbly, and used some of it to make chocolate truffles (melt chocolate, temper it, dip little balls of chantilly in it, wait, coat with cocoa), but most of it is being eaten right now.
What does it taste like? Delicious!
I got this from Shauna:
Katja Gruijters is a food professional. She designs products, spots
consumer trends and develops concepts for companies around human
18/03 Art lab: ft Katja Gruijters
Make your own tableware
– A Lecture on fooddesign by Katja Gruijters
– Make your own tableware
– Lots of artists and free food!
Time: 18.00h – 20.00h
There is also a blob of Dutch text:
in het kader van het nieuwe concept Kunstlab geeft Katja Gruijters,
Nederlands bekendste food designer, een lezing over haar werk. Iedereen
met interesse in ontwerpen, creativiteit maar ook voedsel en de
mogelijkheden met deze combinatie moet hier bij zijn! Verder zal op deze kickoff het Kunstlab geintroduceerd worden met als eerste serie: "Make-a-Meal-of-it".
In deze serie wordt in 6 weken rondom een eigen visie op ‘de
maaltijd’ ontworpen, gecreëerd en gebouwd. Met als resultaat een
gezamenlijke maaltijd als afsluiter waarbij al het werk van de
deelnemers samenkomt in één totaalbeleving van ‘de maaltijd’. Dit onder begeleiding en inspiratie van verschillende kunstenaars en ontwerpers; onder andere Peter de Jong van EcoSnelDesign.
Klik hier voor meer informatie over Kunstlab: "Make-a-Meal-of-it"
and more information about Kunstlab.
I am certainly going to be there! Who wants to come along?
SAMGYETANG is chicken broth with ginseng. The orginal one has more ingredients like ginseng, date and Astragalus. It is traditional summer food in korea. Becuse as you can see there are many traditional Oriental medicines from forest. (Forest is 65percent of total korean earth) And the medical ingredients help you to bear the hot and dry summer of korea. It is easy to see SAMGYETANG restaurant inkorea. And it is really popular food for foriegners since it has mild taste.
Add: There are some problems in uploading the file,,,I missed my original photoes with photoshop.
This blog supports (and is supported by) the Food Design course at Industrial Design Department, run by Walter Aprile and Annemiek van Boeijen. The course is an experimental activity, run in the context of the TUDelft / KAIST joint master program. If everything works, next year we could turn it into a generally available elective: due to the relative newness of the topic, we prefer to start small.
When you want to do risotto, you start with risotto for two, not for risotto for two hundred.
Why Food Design?
The underlying focus of the joint master program is cultural identity, that can be defined as a person’s self affiliation (or categorization by others) as a member of a cultural group. Since cultural identity is a very broad theme, we are proposing to focus more narrowly on cultural identity through food. The course exploits food as a cross-cutting concern of all human societies in all times to stimulate the students to design from the micro to the macro scale in ways that are sensitive to cultural identity. Thanks to the polisemy of food, a topic where issues of health, sustainability, desire, logistics and history interact, we are able to offer a sequence of rich design provocations. The course is particularly targeted at a student group with mixed cultural provenance and could be a model of exploiting (as opposed to ignoring or trying to eliminate) cultural differences in the student body.
The Food Design course format consists of ten meetings, heavily hands on. Each meeting will be blogged. Students are expected to post and comment, otherwise next time I cook for them there will be no salt in the pasta water and too much chili in the sauce. I can think of no worse punshiment.
(the image on top comes from the fantastic Lileks.com website)