Archive for recipe

Foodback

Posted in Conceptual Art, Sacred Geometry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 15, 2012 by javedbabar

“I love Indian cooking,” said Sophie, “and you love 3D printing…”

“I wouldn’t say love,” said Sami, “maybe like.”

“Okay, I love Indian cooking and you like 3D printing.” She raised her eyebrows, as if saying, okay now? “Do you think that we can combine them in some way? I like my job at village hall, but a job is a job. You have to work the hours required, on the days required, for the salary offered. It seems never ending. It would be great to work for myself.” Sophie looked at him coyly. “To work for ourselves.”

They had hit it off at the opening night of Tao Te Ching at QARY, the old quarry that was now a multimedia venue. Sophie had invited him along. They had held hands, smooched, and then the rest. Now there was regular sex and shopping. Things had moved really quickly but he wasn’t complaining. Sophie was a great girl.

Sami cast his mind back. “I used food colours a few weeks back. It was a 2D job making edible images to paste onto cakes. I had to work hard to retain colour clarity, resist bleeding, and eliminate pathogens. Working with food is a sticky business. I’m not sure it’s the right thing to focus on.”

Sophie’s face dropped, but she rallied her enthusiasm. “My friend Siva makes raw food powders, he calls them flavour flours. He’s trying to patent the process before a big food company does, but he’s a poor hippy from Kalash dealing with Intellectual Property lawyers charging five hundred dollars an hour. I’m not sure he’ll get anywhere. They were really good though.”

“The lawyers?”

“No, the flours. Can we try printing with those? It’s the perfect way to use this technology. We’d be using homemade ingredients for local manufacture. That’s really cutting out the carbon – road miles, air miles, sea miles – do they call them miles at sea, or is it fathoms?”

“I think that’s a depth measurement.”

“Well, what do you think of my idea? Can you fathom it?”

She wasn’t sure if she’d made a good joke. It was silly. He may like it.

Sami said, “Sure, let’s give it a go. Come by after work hours.” He winked and she blushed. “Otherwise I will have to charge you printer time.”

Sophie came the next evening with a selection of flavour flours. They smelled pretty pungent. Sami put them into the 3D printers, loaded a North Indian recipe, and soon produced Mughlai Biryani cubes. They emerged from the build pan, steaming.

Sophie licked her lips and tried one, and said, “Really good, but they need a bit more salt, and some turmeric and cumin.”

Sami adjusted the parameters. He tweaked colour, texture and odour, and then focussed on nutrition. The Mughlai Biryani became better and better, a spicy superfood.

Sophie said, “Instead of feedback, we can call this process foodback.”

“If you’ve got five hundred dollars we can patent that.”

The experimentation continued. They used master chef recipes, then formulas for medical enhancement. Via social media they could share the printer blueprints, flour production process, and test recipes. Changing quantities for families of two, three, four or more members automatically adjusted the recipes and instructions.

Imagine everyone cooking whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, wherever they were. The technological revolution had gone full circle, back to the most basic human need.

That’s how the Foodback TM revolution began.

Pot Auntys

Posted in Mystical Experience, Unknown with tags , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2012 by javedbabar

Ali needed a new pot for her book club dinner. A plastic handle had come off the old one and she’d had a go but couldn’t fix it. The previous tenant’s cookware was junk. Its handle stayed wobbly whatever you did. It had caused her to spill a whole pot of stew. Thank God she was wearing shoes! It had taken her an hour to clean the mess, and wasted ten dollars of ingredients.

She went to the hardware store for new cookware. There were so many different metals – pans made of aluminium, copper, cast iron, stainless steel, and carbon steel, and those with non-stick coatings. There were composite materials like enamelled cast iron, enamel over steel, and clad copper, plus alternatives like ceramics, glass, glass-ceramic, and silicon. What was the difference between them all?

The cookware specialist – she had a badge saying so – said, “Choice of material has a significant effect on performance and cost. Key factors you should look for are thermal conductivity and how much food sticks. Pans should conduct heat, but be chemically unreactive. Some may require surface pre-preparation with…”

This was too much information right now. Ali said, “Which one would you recommend for me?” The cookware specialist picked one out.

“How much is it? Oh, two hundred and twenty dollars? That’s more than I can afford.”

The cookware specialist told her the benefits of buying a pot for life. It would prove cheaper in the long run. How old was Ali now – twenty five? If she lived to seventy-five, that was fifty years at less than five dollars a year.

Ali said, “Does it come with a guarantee?” The cookware specialist said there was a two year guarantee.

“But didn’t you say it was a pot for life?” The cookware specialist said who, these days, thinks beyond two years? If Ali didn’t wish to invest her money wisely, maybe she should go across the road to the thrift store instead. This was a ploy to shame her into reconsidering, but she really didn’t want to spend two hundred and twenty dollars. She preferred to take the shame.

The sign on the hut across the road said Eternal Antiques. Ali had visited many times but never seen anyone working there, just shadows moving among piles. She’d chosen her items, dropped her cash into the honesty box and left. They had a good selection of books, clothes, games, and sports equipment. She recalled seeing cookware downstairs at the back, and made her way down there. Ali admired a painting of a medieval kitchen. Servant women in black aprons and white bonnets attended to steaming cauldrons, boiling pans and blackened spits. A vast feast was being prepared for their masters, and if they were lucky, the servants would dine on leftover suckling pig, roast swan, herb-roasted roots, and gravied dumplings.

Ali rummaged through the pile of cookware, causing crashes and bangs as lids rolled around. She found a dark fat cauldron, similar to one in the medieval painting, priced at five bucks. Its handles were welded. That’s what she needed.

It didn’t seem like the pot had any special coating so Ali scrubbed it well, but it remained dull and refused to shine. The water was on full, rushing and gushing. At one point she heard laughing but it must have been water fizzing as it whirled around. It was a good sign though. This was a happy pot.

Her book club members were coming at six, so she had better get cooking. She felt a grumbling as she crumbled stock cubes, which settled down as the water reached a rolling boil. She chopped beef into cubes, and then felt drawn to certain ingredients. Voices in her head said “Add this,” and “Add that,” causing her to reach for parsley, sage, hyssop, and cloves. The voices told her to add mace and verjuice – which she found in the previous tenant’s spice drawer – and egg yolks, ginger, salt, and saffron. This wasn’t her usual recipe for stew. The taste was much stronger and spicier. What was she making? She had no idea.

Her book club members said it was the best stew they had ever tasted, and the sole male member stayed for “coffee”. Later in the bedroom she heard further voices in her head, saying “Do this,” and “Do that,” and laughing. The book club member said this was the best sex he’d ever had.

Next morning as Ali washed the pot, she heard laughing again, as if someone was being tickled. It matched her good mood. She decided to scrub the pot really hard to remove the char stains. As the pot became shinier she noticed shapes wobbling within it. There was a series of black blobs, all crushed together, with pale circles within them. As she looked closely, Ali saw the servant women from the painting.

The pot was made by an English blacksmith in 1666. Women burnt in the bishop’s kitchen during the Great Fire of London had given the pot their souls. Added to these were the souls of every woman who had ever used the pot. There’s a reason that witches use cauldrons. Ali’s soul would also inhabit this one.

We Say Wow!

Posted in Lucerne Village, Unknown with tags , , , , , on April 9, 2012 by javedbabar

“Isn’t that easy?” said Dimpy (Dimples). She finished turning the handle on the GAIATM processor and smiled at the other ladies in the kitchen. “Just one turn and the work is done.”

“That’s it?” said Kira, the hostess. “The vegetables are all cut?”

Dimpy smiled, enhancing her dimples. “Yes, that’s it. That’s why We say Wow!” She assumed they’d all seen the ad: “GAIA cooking systems – We say Wow!” She was here to give these ladies a product demo and free dinner, and hopefully make some sales. She said, “Ok, we’ve prepared the Sa-lad.”

She’s got a bit of an accent, thought Kira. I hadn’t noticed that before. It must be her quirk. Kira was enthusiastic about her commission – ten percent of anything sold tonight – and said, “I can’t believe it’s so easy. I mean peeling and chopping veggies is no big deal, it only takes a few minutes, but this is so quick. You just pop them into the top, crank the handle once, and they’re done. How does it work?”

Dimpy said, “The handle has a very high gearing. One turn by you creates a hundred turns within. It’s like an unhappy marriage. One cruel word triggers many others. God, I used to be so miserable, but look at me now!”

The other ladies were unsure how to react to this, but it was true, she did look fabulous, so Kira added, “We say Wow!”

Everyone laughed and then Dimpy continued. “Next is the Mister-y soup.” Again Kira noticed her accent. She thought how strange. Dimpy got a big pot of water boiling and sang to herself, as if chanting over the bubbling.

“Now I’m not sure I’m going to get a straight answer to this question,” said Kira. “But why is it called Mystery Soup?”

Mister-y soup,” said Dimpy. “Mister-y soup.”

“Ok, why’s it called Mister-y soup?” said Kira.

“Well that’s a mystery of course!” said Dimpy. “No, no, I’m only kidding. It’s called that because cooking is magic. It’s alchemy. We transform raw, inedible ingredients into something nutritious and delicious. Soup is a miracle. You take water – plain old water – and infuse it with spices, flavours, and textures. It becomes something else entirely. We say Wow!

“I’m not trying to be funny,” said Kira. “But isn’t all cooking – well, like that? You take ingredients and make them into a dish.” She was trying to keep the chatter going – like they do in children’s movies – but may have said the wrong thing.

Dimply looked annoyed, and said, “Yes it is, sister. But who does it mostly? That’s right, its women. Men choose to be absent, or useless, in the kitchen. There are celebrity chefs of course, but how many of us are married to them? My ex-husband never lifted a finger. I’m much better off without him.”

It’s not just the pot that’s boiling, thought Kira. There must have been some fireworks in her marriage for sure.

Dimpy said, “Now for Sir-fry.” Did she say Sir-fry, thought Kira. That accent again. She must have meant stir-fry. “Frying is a killer. There’s no need for it really. You can get the same results without using any oil at all – crisped skins and juicy texture. The GAIATM pans are made with a special alloy containing iron, silver, and calcium, minerals which build your bones and boost your blood. Every meal cooked in these pans will improve your health ladies. Say goodbye to anaemia and osteoporosis.”

“That sounds amazing,” said Kira. “How much are the pans?”

“They’re expensive,” said Dimpy. “You’re paying for the very best. But we make them affordable. We know that many women have financial constraints so we offer microcredit. Just buy one pan at a time. We want you to have them. We want you to eat well and be healthy, like I’ve been feeling since my husband died.”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” said Kira. “I thought you were divorced. You’re widowed. Was it recent?”

“Just last year,” said Dimpy. “That’s when my life changed. That’s when I said Wow!” She finished cooking the stir fry and said, “Now we’ll make a light fruity custard called Man-go Fool.”

“Why do you pronounce it like that?” said Kira. “Man-go?”

Dimpy ignored the question and began to beat double cream. She said, “My husband died suddenly. I’ve never gotten over it really. The GAIATM system saved me. It has become my way of life. It’s what supports me and my baby daughter.”

All the food was ready now. Dimpy asked the ladies to take their seats. She brought out the Sa-lad, Mister-y soup, Sir-fry, and Man-go Fool. It was the most delicious meal any of them had ever had. This was because of a special ingredient that she’d not yet mentioned.

GAIATM cooking systems had been developed by leading chef Roland Agneau-Beurre. He was a horrible, brutish man who had disappeared mysteriously. The business had been taken over by his widow, who recruited a network of other recent widows, as a way for single women to support themselves. However none were widows before becoming GAIATM distributors. In their last moments, their husbands had all said Why? Their wives had replied Wow!