Betty Crocker it’s not.
“Hi William, attaching the recipe for ‘What Accumulates on the Forgotten’, as well as some pictures. Precious is wrapping up on the recipe for the heart still, but we should send that through asap. Hope you like!”
When I first reached out to Bobbi Salvör Menuez, artist and one third of ‘queer cooking collective’ Spiral Theory Test Kitchen, I was ignorantly imagining straightforward, albeit unusual, recipes. for this ‘weird’ and ‘wonderful’ issue – exotic ingredients that perhaps I hadn’t heard of, but followable recipes; put-together- able recipes. So, when I received the first of three that read more T. S. Elliot than any Betty Crocker, I
was ecstatic. Had I done my homework, I would have discovered they don’t often put their recipes into written word – the cooking is more philosophical than that – and that Sorbet was extremely lucky they agreed to the task. “I think food is an equally good or better medium to describe philosophical concepts than writing,” explains another third of the three, Quori Theodor. “Like, it can be very direct, and the ingestion is not metaphorical. Certainly, specific philosophical concepts drive dishes, sometimes more than the ingredients themselves, but the work is always about the sum of its parts. Concepts of Afrofuturism, Afropessimism, biopolitics, quantum theory, decolonization of the mind-body, animism, utopic dystopia, among many others, recur. All of us have studied philosophy in different forms: I did a master’s and dropped out of my PhD in critical theory; Precious [Okoyomon] studied it at Great Books School; and Bobbi has a very philosophically motivated parent, so had a unique education from early on. However, philosophy, as we approach it, always works in service of the living world, not in service of itself.”
Lucky enough to attend a dinner catered by Spiral Theory Test Kitchen, I was familiar with some of the dishes – Nigerian cassava yam poached in Sichuan peppercorn-infused butter over coriander labneh cream, garnished with burnt-ghost-pepper crouton, or stringy corn hairs with tongue-numbing Spilanthes, and papaya-orbs suspended in rose-water aspic jelly. Those were uncomfortable and thrilling at the same time, something like the shoulder bars of a fairground ride digging into your bones as you’re swung upside-down in a fit of adrenal glee. “We all have a store of ingredient knowledge from living many lives, and having been interested in food for very long time, but also, we are always finding things, o either accidentally or hyper-researched,” says Quori. “And maybe an ingredient isn’t weird given different contexts; for example, we are serving very large snails at our next dinner, which is probably a new experience for many, but is a fairly common dish in Nigeria. I remember trying soursop fresh for the first time when I was a punk sailor and a few of my friends and I sailed to Haiti. We’ll be using soursop for a kombucha that will be served in a hand-blown vessel that connects each guest to the same source – sort of like silly straws – at the next meal too.”
In the kitchen, the cooking is often divvied-up according to each of the three’s specializations: Bobbi handles the more molecular gastronomic goings-on; Quori is on pastry; Precious is the only meat-eater among them, and thus mostly handles the meat. “I would much prefer meat be eaten with intention around the process of living and dying, which we always bring to every dead animal we serve,” explains Quori. “We are always thinking about the lives of the animal, even if it doesn’t seem visible. For example, when we’ve served pigeon tied in bondage, we’ve had guests work together to untie and figure out how to eat this bird – head and feet on – with their neighbor, which also quietly means that half the amount of pigeons are served. I’m not usually physically grossed out when meat is around – I would prefer to see it as it is, not as a hygienic homogenized shape. All that being said though, I did gag when preparing the pig’s blood pavlova. I cry sometimes too.”
With all the buzz building around STTK, as they’re enlisted more and more to create these incredible menus for art- and fashion-world events, is it possible to maintain the kind of close-knit energy that is so inspiringly intrinsic to the collective? “We’re collaborating with others all the time,” says Quori. “We’ve worked with others in the past and will in the future – it works with us three, but it’s certainly not a closed system. At a recent event with Telfar, even though we were all friends before, it really showed me there are other people in the world who work like a family, who are on a long game in this life, who use their business/art practice to carve out new ways of being in this suffering world. And that’s so important to us.”
What accumulates on the forgotten ?
“80% of dust is made up of dead skin. Dust in houses and offices is made up of a combination of pollen, hair, textile fibers, paper fibers, soil minerals, cosmic dust particles, and various other materials found in the local environment.”
Gather CDs [ or any optical disc technology ] as many as you like.
Ingestion of dust as CANNIBALISM
Taste of failure
Information perceived through static
Bloom and prepare gelatin [ or agar agar ] with a preferred liquid.
Translation via diode
Tongue as optical path
Organize CDs on a flat surface. If not double-sided, encoded sides facing up.
When I was 4, my two cousins took me
on a walk up the mountain near where
they lived in the countryside of Iceland. When we got thirsty on the walk we drank the small spheres of water that were held by the leaves and grass. I remember thinking I could survive with this as my only water source, if needed.
Using a dropper place drops of the unset gelatin carefully onto each disc.
Gravity that binds
My favorite toy
Place disks with drops into a fridge, cooling unit or outdoors if it’s cold enough.
Voyaging message sent through time
Licking my plasma light in privacy
The golden record sent to space
Serve once drops are set. Anticipate persisting hunger.
Allegory of the long spoons pudding
Make a chocolate pudding with a milk of your choice (coconut, oat, cashew, cow) and spoon into bowls
Watch your body falling off, like a discarded garment
Reach across the abyss
Created by the mind and bridged by
[Drinking from another’s cup]
Ferment fruit of your choice and blend, spoon over pudding
To fear rejection for a social species is to fear death
What is we
The company of saints expands in numbers as time passes
Duct tape dowels to spoons of your choice.
Long enough to reach across the table
Everyone is smart except for me
Lonely people made unlonely by their own sincerity
Ask the friend for love, ask them again
Every heart gets what it wishes for most
Make black sugar glass, the size of the pudding’s bowl, shiny and mirrored
In the Middle Ages people were expected to carry their own knives to use as cutlery, the same knives that were used for fighting each other
But annoyed by the knife fighting and disgusted by people using the tip of their knives to pick at their teeth, King Louis XIV decreed in 1669 that knives brought to the dinner table have a ground down tip
Assemble the pudding with the glass like a lid
Reduced to soft shoveling
What distinguishes a knife from a spoon
A sharp shell, spectral utensil
Place one bowl in front of each person, give them a long spoon, to feed one another.
Looking back at your life
From the end of your life
What matters now
I didn’t miss it
First secure the heart
Then quickly I will show you
The body’s ways of recreating itself
First wash the heart and prepare it for great shock
Quaking fixed in the ground rooted in fear
You’re going to need 34 peppers
2 handfuls of raspberry dust
A dozen roses
Find the site of the wound
Ur going to need to stab your heart 10 times
Secure the knife and I will tell you
The magical properties of the
Sight of great shock
In the wound
Rub a mixture of blended peppers and rose
Secure the heart with strong string Bind tight
Broil on low for 2 hours, depending on size
Take it out let it sit out for an hour
Grate it on anything u want
We’ll talk about it later
END OF STORY