Login chances entry, entry chances rekicked essayisms: login chances rekicked essayisms. Never will be what it was back when.
Reading René Redzepi Journal (generously lent by A.S.) with a green cover and a one inch binder clip holding it together on the right because the adhesives opposite “binding” gave up, quit holding on, saying, in effect, flap pages, flap. Or the volume–a loaner–was more roughly handled than Phaidon Press Limited ever could have imagined. It’s only six years old and falling apart. Page-turn gently; the young, too, are old nowadays. Even the strongest glues are temporary. Once inside the book, there’s this:
Tuesday 22 February
While investigating Trash Cooking we’ve come upon a small discovery: the fish scales we always throw away have this brilliant crispness. They don’t taste of very much in their own right – they’re more of a vehicle for the frying fat – but it’s delightful to watch them transform from small, disgusting, slimy refuse, to completely white, glassy, brittle flakes. They will certainly go on the menu somewhere. (24)
Trash Cooking clicks with a freegan impulse and gets me thinking again about food resourcefulness, also dumpster diving, also safety-netted scrounging and foraging experiments run on pseudo-precarity. It’s a different feeling when you the fish scales are piled and never make that leap. But anyway, whatever of it, guts and discardeds, today’s menus are for the most part idling. And more, six days later:
Monday 28 February
We’ve been obsessively drying anything and everything we can get our hands on. The rest of the staff outside the test kitchen are sullen, as we’ve commandeered every device with even the slightest heat to dehydrate our products. The Dried Kitchen is such a big project, far bigger than I realized, and it’s taking a goddamn long time. It takes three bloody days to dry an endive at 60° C [140° F]. Two days for a cucumber. At some point in my fervour, I asked the boys to dry every variety of pumpkin…but now I’m not so sure. (25)
I’m not so sure, too. I’ve had a Cosori dehydrator for a few weeks, drying some of this, drying some of that. 145° F/62.7° C, four hours at a time. Lemon juice soaked fruits with chili powder, cayenne, ginger, or cinnamon added. Lemons and blood oranges. Sweet potato chips in onion powder and, after a round of drying, barbecue sauce for a second round. Mung sprouts tossed in dijon. Mung sprouts soaked in pickle juice. Apple slices. Bananas slices several different ways, including peels on. Pears with dill weed. Possibly more than all the rest, I’m looking forward to separating fire cider, one month infused, liquid to bottles and solids to puree for drying and grinding into seasoning for I don’t know what, exactly, but probably popcorn topping. April 15 will be one month for the cider, but tomorrow, Easter (4/12), seems like as good a day as any to roll free the lids from the jar tops, convert solids to puree to leather to dust. But there’s a backlog in that cantaloupe and green apples will have to wait another day or two. These and other patiences. I’ll continue these meanderings for a while, slice and season and dry and sample, eat the dried foods whether they’re good or bad, forgettable or unforgettable. And as I do, I’ll puzzle out some of this:
- Candying sequences, including chocolate coated citrus slices.
- How to get the wire racks to more readily release the dried foods, including better uses of sheets, oils, or parchment.
- Chopping/chunking fruits for baked goods reintegration (e.g., strawberry or banana nib brownies or chocolate chip cookies).
- Homemade granola bars.