Foodways Archive: Melbourne

We’re preparing a publication about the Foodways series, and we are updating our documentation online to accompany that. We’ll use this post to archive the edited collection of fantastic, pithy, witty, insightful, and fun observations that folks in Melbourne shared with us during the Foodways project there. We’ll update with a full listing soon, but here are a few of our favorites.

Any food in a tourist area is pretty much crap–inauthentic and overpriced.

Australians believe in good food, good wine, and surfing.

Climate change makes me change my assumptions about the abundance of food.

Coffee is the ritual we all connect with. You can’t really say, let’s catch up for mineral water. It’s not a cozy thing.

Day eating culture is bigger than night.

Even in a dorm room, you’d have a toaster and a kettle.

Every night there’s a special on somewhere: Parma Night, Steak Night.

Everyone’s just happy because they’re having brunch.

Healthfood culture and junk food culture exist side by side here—donuts and burgers and also super-clean stuff—the same people.

I plan my day around where I will get my coffee.

In Melbourne, if a restaurant is not good, it doesn’t last.

Old school pubs are more kid friendly.

One of the most critical moments in my life is going to my daughter’s house and seeing on the table things that I had cooked for her as a child.

On days when I’m really missing mum I’ll cook her food.

To eat for free, attach a tin can to a long stick and wander through the alleys.  If fruit is over the fence, you are allowed to take it.

We’re not big into chains. Starbucks failed here. Our coffee culture is quite bespoke.

Wine and food rules are not like in Europe.  There’s lots of freedom of expression.

What does ‘modern Australian’ mean? It’s fusion.



Ampersand Cookies


Ampersand cookies rolled, pressed, and cut before baking.

We first developed “Letterpress Cookies” as part of our participation in the 2016 Wisconsin Book Festival (during our Community Research Kitchen residency at The Bubbler), where we printed the entire alphabet and available punctuation. Not surprisingly, our favorite was the ampersand. We bought another set of presses to have a second “&” when we planned “Rage Grief Comfort &” for the Municipal show. Since then we’ve incorporated Ampersand Cookies into a lot of activist-oriented activities and events, giving them away at events like the women’s march and bringing them to talks and functions.

This recipe is different every time we make them. The first base recipe had cream as well as butter, and sometimes we’ve incorporated a bit of “The Bubbler”, as we now call our Foodways sourdough. The cookies come out not too sweet, and we’ve yet to feel we over-did either the anise or the cloves.

Beat: 1# butter and 450gr sugar

Mix and add: 3 eggs (about 150gr), 50gr olive oil, 10gr anise extract

Mix and mix in: 100gr rye flour, 700 gr APF, 20gr sea salt, 5gr baking powder, 5gr ground cloves

Wrap and chill: at least an hour, up to a day

roll out to 1/4″

press ampersands deeply with floured press

cut between the cookies–they usually don’t fuze too much while baking but that depends on how loose the dough is

bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes, depending–it’s usually good to rotate the pans partway through


Rage Grief Comfort &

img_2456When Spatula&Barcode were invited to participate in the Municipal show, we knew immediately that we wanted to create a project about responses to the election.  The resulting project, “Rage Grief Comfort &” used simple foods to allow the public to express emotions and then asked the question, besides being angry and fearful, what else can we do. Continue reading

Feeding Farmers Overview

Feeding Farmers was one of the most satisfying components of the Foodways: Madison project. We coordinated more than thirty pairings of area artists with local farmers, with the artists preparing meals for the farmers. The piece began with the simple image of reversing the usual flow of food, and then we realized that this was an opportunity to leverage our art community and our interest in local agriculture, including our decades of shopping at the Dane County Farmers Market. The meals happened in many ways, with artists adapting to the interests and needs of the growers. Some artists visited farms and cooked with farmer’s ingredients, while some others prepared simple and convenient meals that could be eaten at the market or carried home for later. While the project resulted in some beautiful documentation, we’re also very happy with simply on the conceptual and relational levels. Feeding Farmers also deepened our relationship with the farmers we know and led us to a lot of thinking about the similarities and differences among farmers and artists.

At these links, you will find pictures and descriptions associated with the Feeding  Farmers project.