cooking together, without a recipe

Yoonseo gives an intro to macro cooking

On Saturday February 26th, we gathered a few people together to do a cooking experiment at Yoonseo Lee's cooking studio.  We wanted to see what it would be like to arrive with various ingredients, and go through a collaborative process to create a meal.  We wondered: what is it like to cook together, without a recipe?  This is an especially interesting question when it involves a group of people who don't all know each other, who have never worked together before, and who come from different food cultures.

some of our raw ingredients

We began the session introducing our current stream of research.  We've been investigating the idea of the rhizome and trying to find ways to bring it into everyday life. Following the saying 'you are what you eat', we've been doing various cooking experiments with plants that spread through underground stems (rhizomes). One of the most well-known edible rhizomes is pictured above: ginger.  On Sunday, we also cooked fellow-rhizomes lotus, turmeric, wasabi, and asparagus. 

assessing the possibilities

After we introduced ourselves, and Yoonseo introduced her cooking practice, we examined our ingredients and did a group matching game to group them together into about 4 dishes.  Our guests brought random surprise ingredients: kelp, tomatoes, green onions, and egg plant.  These were combined with the things we brought, and by the end of the grouping process, we had plans to use all of the ingredients.  So we divided-up into teams and started to cook.

the results

In the end, a really good meal developed - it all tasted good and there was no waste. Yeah!  In total we created three main dishes.  'When the forest meets the sea' was a sesame leaf wrap with rice/kelp/wasabi filling. 'The Yang in my Mouth' was stirfried lotus roots with ginger and gree onion.  And, 'Clown Pants' were skewers with tomato, egglplant, mushroom and garlic spiced with turmeric. Most importantly, we'd created a space together in which to be creative while cooking, discuss and appreciate food, knowledge-share, and expand our network of friends.