Connecting culinary traditions with scientific and cultural innovations is in itself nothing new, but the products of these connections remain surprises to our senses. That's why Maja Kuzmanovic proposed merging tradition and innovation as the theme of this year's Beltain event in Galerija Makina in Pula, Croatia. This event kicked off in 2011, with food as the glue between pagan and proletarian cultures, combining Beltain eve and 1st of May celebrations. Last year Maja designed the event as an urban picnic in the Makina Gallery. The format and the themes inspired the organisers and the audience to make Beltain into an annual event. The speakers in 2012 were five local food-experimenters – both enthusiasts and professionals. From post-event reports, we heard that locally-grown olive oil and different varieties of local spirit rakija were flowing in abundance.
This year FoAM couldn't be in Pula in person, so we recorded a video of Maja's talk (see link below). She discussed preserving the green colour and vitamins in leafy vegetables, slow and low-temperature cooking, cooking with ingredients gathered in the vicinity of where they would be used, the influence of day-to-day seasonal changes on cuisine, the importance of cherishing a wide variety of cultivars, as well as getting vegetarians excited about Balkan food (usually predominantly meaty) by cold-smoking tomatoes and peppers for a traditional maneštra – a thick soup made with vegetables and smoked lard.
A week later, Maja was invited by Alok Nandi to talk about FoAM's approach to food at Scale Food Design. She was joined by Malika Hamza who introduced the philosophy behind the Slow Food movement and Sandrine Mossiat singing a praise to 'sublime' tastes of simple meals with good ingredients. It was interesting to talk to an audience of architects and designers: the discussion was quickly taken to an urban scale, talking about economics, politics, spaces and places in which food can be a part of larger cultural convivium.
- Video: https://vimeo.com/44237742
- Transcript: http://lib.fo.am/beltain_02
Scale Food Design: