Today’s Special, solo show held at Mild Climate in Nashville, TN, Summer of 2017. Opening night was a community potluck eaten off second hand plates and bowls that were glazed with notes/ excerpts from my sketchbooks. The tablecloths were made from failed paintings and studio remnants. No paintings were hung for this event. 2 months of programming included: Leftover Nights: the public brought their leftovers to the gallery once a week and I brought a microwave from home so we could all share meals together. Recipe Swaps: both in person and online to be released as a future recipe book with Extended Play Press. Kitchen Scrap Teas: the public brought their vegetable and fruit scraps from their kitchens and we made savory/ sweet tea bags to take home.
You haven’t experienced True Love until you let someone cook for you. Let someone tell you how they love you with a little bit of salt, olive oil, and rosemary and you’ll see what I mean. It could do you some good. I mean have you ever tasted a perfectly ripe, perfectly caramelized fried plantain? Have you ever ripped open a fresh round of sourdough to find steamy ghosts of desire haunting your olfactory senses? I truly believe that when Dante pierces the skin of the universe and looks upon the Love that moves the earth and stars, he was gazing into a deep bowl of warm tomato soup with a sprig of fresh basil on top.
It’s a lot like learning anything, really. Cooking is a little awkward at first, but it’s honest work. A few burns, grease fires, and a couple years of overcooking chicken can actually teach you the deeper mysteries of life. Just grab a few things you like and boil them, fry them, bake them. Little by little you’ll find small miracles. A pinch of sugar to ease the acidity of a ripe tomato, a drizzle of honey to tenderize a hunk of meat, and a single bay leaf (what the hell is a bayleaf really?) can teach your chicken noodle soup a mighty trick.
The “meal” shouldn’t be a desperate grab for what leftover stillness we have in our busy lives. “Comfort Food” isn’t fried chicken and green beans at a Cracker Barrel, it’s sharing that last can of pinto beans in your pantry with someone because you happen to have half an onion and some tortillas lying around. Haven’t you ever read Chicken Noodle Soup for the Soul? When you’re down on your luck and you’ve got nobody around to love you, try putting a little bit of butter, sugar, and cinnamon on a stale biscuit and broil at 400 for 3 minutes. Your heart just might soar, if even for a moment.
Today’s Special is whatever you’ve got left in the fridge, whatever you’ve got the energy to put together in a pan or a pot at the end of long day. Today is Special because it’s you, me, and a plate of something good between us.
Documentation of Kitchen Scrap Teas below: