Hands On

One of the first things we learn as a toddler is how to use a spoon and fork. We are scolded for playing with our food, and discouraged to eat with our hands. We learn to be “civilized;” to carry a spoonful of soup to the mouth, to cut bite size pieces of steak, to twirl spaghetti around a fork. Connecting with food through tools is one of the first ways we interact with objects and learn survival.

In the Middle Ages, utensils were status symbols, used only by the wealthy. Although at the time it was not considered necessary, people used them to flaunt highly decorative utensils made of rare stones and metals.

With the exception of finger foods such as burgers, and sandwiches, we rarely use our bare hands to consume, not to mention create food. Utensils are certainly useful, however they further remove us from experiencing food by creating a layer between the food and the body. This meal attempts to remove that layer and explore a more direct  relationship to the food we consume. How do we make a pesto sauce without knives? Is it possible to whip cream without a blender or whisk? How does one measure ingredients without a standard measuring cup? Does the eating experience alter radically if we remove the layer of the tool and have direct contact with our food at all times?

The Menu
Italian wine
Traditional caesar salad
Homemade pasta with pesto sauce

The Parameters
• Participants will work in teams of two
• Each team will create a three course meal
• All ingredients and tools are within arms reach
• All measurements are made with the hands
• Participants are encouraged to create tools out of food