A Vegetable Butcher! Wonder What Someone Will Create Next...
This morning at the Lexington Farmers Market I watched the set-up for a cooking competition, along with the much more elaborate set-up, mid-Pavilion, for what appeared to be a verrrry large upcoming Spotlight Lexington Festival band. I thought about the many uses of food: sustenance, entertainment, art, near-religion (vegan/carnivore; real sugar/no sugar/zero calorie sweeteners), comfort, travel magnet, economic engine, and more. Part of that "more" is wonder.
Wonder -- and laughter -- came to me when I read this New York Post story last week: Food factory girl: Food artist and Warhol "kid" will prep and chop your dinner salad. In Eataly, the extravagant new 42,500 square foot Italian market/restaurant space in Manhattan, food installation/happening impresario Jennifer Rubell butchers vegetables to order for customers who then, we assume, take them home and cook them. Rubell's stint as the nation's first vegetable butcher is temporary, but apparently Manhattanites willing to wait through Eataly's lines can expect the vegetable butchery service to continue after her stint ends.
Those of us who have enough food are unlikely ever to exhaust the ways we play with it. Crowds of Kentuckians and visitors have been eating festival foods in our streets the last three weekends, enjoying outdoor and indoor harvest and farm-to-table events, eating astonishing prestige foods at high-end dinners, buying from our regular suppliers, cooking at home, eating out -- and then here's Jennifer Rubell, doing something else with and about food and the ways it intersects with art. Here's the opening sentence from her bio: "Jennifer Rubell creates participatory large-scale food projects that are a hybrid of performance art, installation art, and happenings."
I enjoyed two other pieces as well. First, this story from mindbodygreen.com: Q & A with Jennifer Rubell: Cookbook Author, Food Artist, Vegetable Butcher, and this from newyork.grubstreet.com: Eataly's Vegetable Butcher Revealed.
Although most of us Kentuckians will likely continue being our own vegetable butchers, perhaps the artful spotlight Rubell and Batali/Bastianich are shining on vegetables will add needed momentum to the adventure we are on toward eating more veggies. Even if not, I enjoy the laughter and wonder over our creativity, and our perpetual fascination with food.
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The world is coming to visit central Kentucky this year for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. To help our visitors know more about Kentucky's food and food ways, Savoring Kentucky is rolling out 116 Savory Kentucky Bites, one for each of the 100 days before WEG begins, and 16 for the days during WEG, September 25 - October 10. Today's Savory Bite is number 101.