Research FOOD, a project from 1972 in SoHo New York then plan, create, and document a meal and share it with someone. Document the process with photos, videos, and sculpture and write about it.
I began this project wishing I had gotten this assignment a week earlier.
To celebrate my 30th birthday I hosted a dinner party where everyone dressed up, and I created a carefully planned menu and cooked everything myself. (with a bit of help). The menu was designed to reflect the harvest season with a special nod the variety of apples found in southern Michigan. The dinner was hosted in the main gallery of the art center I work at in Buchanan.
Bourbon Sweet Potato Bisque with Cinnamon Croutons
Apple Cider Chicken
Sweet Potato Beer Biscuits with Maple Sage Butter
Honey Apple Pork
Brown Sugar Glazed Baby Carrots
Warm Spiced Apple Cider
Red Velvet Cinnamon Roll Intestines
Pumpkin Turtle Cheesecake
However, I hadn’t taken nearly enough photos or video to work with, so I decided to make a smaller meal and to share it with my roommate, Sharon.
Sharon is much more of a people person than I am, or any of my other roommates for that matter. The social interactions of a co-created meal are important to me but is something I tend to reserve for close friends, significant others, and family. We chose the menu by having a conversation about what foods we’d each been wanting recently and settled on biscuits and gravy.
I like making pan gravy for a lot of the food I cook, but never really try to make enough volume for something like biscuits and gravy but thought I would attempt it. We did buy packet gravy as a back up and we argued a bit over the sausage as Sharon likes spicy and I prefer mild. We compromised with mild sausage and making the gravy a bit spicier with a little bit of ground red pepper once it was on her plate. Neither of us had the patience or time to make biscuits from scratch so we did cheat and use biscuits from cans. The ones that pop and always make you jump regardless of you knowing they will do exactly that.
Sharon arranged and put the biscuits in the oven while I was fretting over the gravy. I had the gas burner turned lower than normal because the stainless steel pans have a tendency to make the flour base of a roue stick to the bottom, making it hell to clean. The first tray of biscuits almost burnt because Sharon went out for a smoke break and I was too absorbed in the gravy to realize she was gone for almost 20 minutes.
Once the flour and the milk arrived at the correct consistency, I added the already cooked sausage back to the pan. I used the Joy of Cooking for a reference to figure out the ratio of flour to pan drippings I needed. This particular copy I received from my Grandmother after my Grandfather died. It was how he had been teaching me how to cook. It is one of the few comprehensive cookbooks and it never goes out of date because it tells you the techniques and how to modify recipes as well.
Even though it was a bit chilly out, it was just warm enough we decided to enjoy the night while we could and ate out on the front porch.