List Grid

Blogs Field Guide

(Kitchen) Lab Notes

Grounded in studies of food, design, culture, social practice, and engineering – to name just a few – the Walker Kitchen Lab Collective spent the last two weeks questioning, defining, creating, researching, prototyping, discovering, experimenting with and trying to determine the nature of the kitchen. Tonight’s “Kitchen Lab: an Unveiling” at Walker Open Field from […]

Grounded in studies of food, design, culture, social practice, and engineering – to name just a few – the Walker Kitchen Lab Collective spent the last two weeks questioning, defining, creating, researching, prototyping, discovering, experimenting with and trying to determine the nature of the kitchen. Tonight’s “Kitchen Lab: an Unveiling” at Walker Open Field from 6-9 pm, invites you, the public, to come interact with, play and explore the many Kitchen Lab toolkits that have been created by the collective.

What’s a Kitchen Lab toolkit, you might ask? Physically speaking, it’s a box inside which you will find objects, utensils, ingredients, instructions, etc., etc., relating to various themes or ideas about the kitchen, the hearth, food culture, and beyond that encourage play.

I’ve gathered some tasty tidbits from the Kitchen Lab collective’s daily documentation about their process and projects, research and development,  and personal reflections on the many Kitchen Lab speakers and workshops. So let theses musings, illustrations, questions and ideas pique your interest (and perhaps your appetite) for what’s in store for tonight’s unveiling!

Excerpts from the Kitchen Lab Collective’s Daily Documentation:

-fondue is a highly social experience

-p.s: we also tried melting the cheese in the oven!!

-it was a relationship with food that I previously didn’t even think to bring to this class

-In the spirit of Kitchen Lab and inspired by a number of talks (but Amanda Lovelee in particular), I’m proposing the Kitchen Lab Jam

-Alright, end of the documentation-dry-spell for the Scent Box.

-Go go go go, and then pass or fail. But we can’t fail. So let’s just keep going.

-Speaking of containers, I would like us to agree on some language around describing the containers.  Are they Kitchen Lab Experiments? Kitchen Lab Projects? Kitchen Lab Activities?  Kitchen Lab Cabinets?  Pantries?  Appliances?

-This pragmatic perspective of the business of being a chef and opening a restaurant provides another perspective to our understanding of the landscape of food.

-Wee wire baskets hang off the pegboard to hold our smaller smell miscellany for your perusing pleasure.

-I think the Open Field is asking some of the same questions I am.

-how do we reconcile “mobile” and “hearth”?

-A pure, simple concept can strike through all of the complexity and expose the heart of what we want to say. What is this heart, this question we’re asking of our audience?

-post-it note brainstorming

-I liked that people were jumping from group-to-group making suggestions and the Flat Pack began to have that studio feeling where you just ask a question out loud to the room in general and someone will usually answer it.

-Reflective, insulating material!  Could you get more perfect than that?

-Making the invisible visible. Social sculpture. Beloved community. Humanizing.

-the flow of how people worked and where they sat was not what I expected

-I woke up early today to get to Ax-Man

-Because the containers relatively un-kitchen-like it’s hard to imagine them working as a kitchen.

-Two people (at separate times), after hearing my complaints about less than enjoyable bites, became determined to create a meal that I would enjoy. (They failed to do so, but I appreciated the effort.)

-Food is clearly great for participation–talking over a spread of free food tends to dismantle barriers to casual conversation.

-the value of humor

-Sympathy and vulnerability lower our socially defensive barriers and allow us to relate to each other and build community.

-the Alice in Wonderland scene with the bottle labeled “Drink Me” and cake labeled “Eat Me” prompted us to think about the role of the senses as bodily, and the role that the senses have in making associations to place and memory in the kitchen

-Our main goal through this project is to teach the community the alternative ways to cook and serve in a new form.

-I needed to be reminded that it is not enough to write that an audience was “engaged,” but write how, why, what were they doing that indicated so.

-We don’t have to introduce people to every single tea culture, that’s not the goal of the project, but just introduce them to something new.

-the goal for good instruction-writing is to have sympathy for the reader, shift your domain to theirs, enter their shoes and imagine how they may understand your words or images.

-memory, instead of note-taking, is the best kind of filter in determining what information is really important

-When someone cuts something in half, the other person chooses their piece – all these years, and I thought mine was the only family who practiced such a ritual.

-functional kitchen, full cycle, policy.

-unbeknownst to me, I have been sorting out  my Food Biography.