20 courses, 1 table, 3 guests
Portland, Oregon, USA
00 First Atmospherics (arrival, industrial light and heat)
01 Unearthing Aromas, Sights, and Sounds (dirt with charcoal, spruce, rosemary, and flour)
02 The Form of Bread (primordial dough)
03 A Glass of Water
04 Continuing Ingestion (a bite of carrot digesting itself, juices)
05 Limits of Ingestion (a 25-count texture of beans with clams)
06 Nature | Culture (moss digesting slate)
07 Prism, an initiation to White (carbonation with nasturtium, sulfur)
08 White I (onion steeped in buttermilk with Queen Anne’s flowers, an onion “milk”)
09 White II (lardo, jicama, and pepperseed with marrow broth)
10 Poison I (the poisoned body, cyanide and chicken)
11 Puddle of Rocks with Crispy Leaves (broth of the ground and mud, burnt oil)
12 Carcass (vulture-hatchling tartare of lamb and its diet, new yolk with stone fruit)
13 Decay I (mushrooms and fungus, baked ground)
14 A Stomach Slit Open (cud and honeycomb, a levain with fresh cheese, still oozing whey)
15 Poison II (“rust” on scrap metal)
16 Digesting Time (an apple in 100 frames over 100 minutes, its seeds and a sauce of temporal chemicals)
17 Decay II (a drink of hibiscus, wine yeast)
18 Digestive I (a tisane of digestive aids, herbs and roots)
19 Folds and Wrinkles (mignardises of meringue, honeycomb brittle, and something indigestible)
20 Digestive II (a digestif of the same herbs and roots)
Immanent to life, digestion is a process of breakdown and reduction, but also of incorporation and absorption. This paradox quickly runs into notions of cruelty: the cosmos as one big stomach, composed of infinite degrees of smaller and smaller guts. Digestion indicates a particular openness, a nourishing permeability of the body.
Meals by their very essence provide a natural opening (physically speaking), allowing other changes to be sparked, other things to slip in.
Here we face a question: how to define eating? Food is not simply eaten; it is digested (broken down, then absorbed) and thus crosses a boundary between object and subject. Indeed, where does one body end and another begin? While digestion disassembles and decomposes bodies, it also constructs new ones (even if the differences are unseen by the naked eye). Food evokes sensations and changes in body chemistry, acting on the supposed individual. One is not only devouring but also being devoured. From here, digestion offers an entry point into the metaphysics of difference.
Digestion is continuous variation whose constancy is its immanent variance. As such, it offers a way of conceiving each plate, the meal, the cuisine, as a rhizome, while crystallizing infinite variations of each. Hence, digestion is a cipher of the secret culinary language.
Or more simply: the digestive tract provides the chef with a culinary tact.
Sam Yehros (collaboration with planning, cooking, and presenting)
Harrison Martin (assistance with cooking)
Jac Nelson (assistance with documentation)
Planetary Elixers (supplying a bottle of their Jamaica Roselle)
Littman and White Gallery (providing artist grant)