February 03, 2006

Potato Piroshki & Steamed Garlic Chive and Shiitake
Dumplings with Lemongrass Dipping Sauce

Interview with Sasha Ivanov

Interview with Jason Wang

Performance Photos

Late last year I assisted New York Artists Mary Ellen Carroll and Donna Wingate with the Boston leg of their art project Itinerant Gastronomy. Their motto is “Living well is it’s own reward, and any relationship, whether with a person or a root vegetable, should have the time to develop properly.” On the construction site of the new ICA building, we cooked a multi-course gourmet meal for a number of prominent Boston guests, and it was a wonderful experience. It reminded me that making and eating food binds us together as we share the happenings of our lives, and pass along our culture and traditions over the dinner table. Cooking is nurturing, life affirming, and pleases all of the senses. It’s been a passion of mine since I was 10 years old, so it made perfect sense with this installation, an investigation into food, to cook.

I love neighborhood ethnic grocery stores as they are usually still family run, manageable in size, and a world of discovery. For the dumpling ingredients I shopped at Mirim Oriental Groceries at 152 Harvard Ave in Allston. It’s a small, but well stocked shop where you can find spices, sauces, dried goods, fresh produce and frozen foods. I’ve never made dumplings before, but since most of my previous works involved making multiples, I thought this was a befitting activity to begin Variations on the Theme of Food, and took comfort in the repetition and process.

I arrived to the gallery early, poured myself a cup of tea and watched the traffic speeding by through the front window. Where are we all going so fast? I wondered how difficult it would be to get people to sit down at the table, and take time to enjoy some good food and conversation.

Our first guests were all in the midst of their busy work day, and GASP was perfumed with the scent of garlic and ginger. No one had eaten a homemade piroshki before, and they were a treat. Everyone was multi-tasking, and running to meetings or appointments. So lunch was pretty brief and talk around the table included, convenience foods, and how delicious some of them are. Just open a package,throw it in the microwave, and in a few minutes you have dinner. I do that too sometimes of course, but after I’ve eaten a boxed meal, my stomach is full, but my soul remains hungry for something more.

Posted by leah at February 3, 2006 08:43 PM

am I going to be the only one enjoying the piroshkis?

Posted by: hb at February 2, 2006 08:08 PM

Fantastic show! I think more artists should cook.

Posted by: Commander Dave at February 4, 2006 11:37 AM
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