This post is the second of three posts about Leapling dinners. Read post one here. Imagine you are a hair stylist, with several decades of professional experience, and as your appointment sits down, you hand over your scissors, a mirror, some gel and firmly wish them “Good luck.” This is how I feel serving nabe. […]
Author Archives: Max La Rivière-Hedrick
Francis shared his thoughts behind all the decisions made that night, he was focused on the story-telling. For example, the tabletops were covered with New Orleans newspapers and clear plastic, and when everyone was done eating, the servers came to one side of the long tables, started rolling up the plastic, taking everything with it— a giant trash burrito, or real-life Katamari ball. This revealed drawings done by children of North Beach middle-school for dessert course. Newspapers, a physical artifact of a local community from far away, to drawings, a physical artifact of our local community = pretty nice.
The smell of pot roast in the hallway— fresh pink cotton candy and hay— bruised tomato vines and leaves— burnt marshmallows— BBQ smoke— berry bushes— these are smells that commonly trigger immediate emotion–filled memories— instant and overwhelming. This makes sense, as Natalie Angier describes, “the olfactory cortex is embedded within the brain’s limbic system and amygdala, where emotions are born and emotional memories stored. That’s why smells, feelings and memories become so easily and intimately entangled.”
In the 8th century, The Moors, an extension of the Islamic Empire, conquered and occupied the Iberian Peninsula, what is now Spain and Portugal. From Northern Africa they brought a culture of innovation, technology and knowledge into Europe.
The Moors also introduced new food: sugarcane, rice, vegetables, almonds, citrus. From Asia and Africa they brought spices: cumin, cinnamon, ginger, coriander, mustard, cloves, nutmeg, saffron, black pepper. This influx of new ingredients and cooking techniques proved pervasive and enduring for Spain, the rest of Europe and the New World, clearly impacting Mexican and South American cuisines. Spanish paella, considered a national dish, was birthed from Moorish casseroles of rice, fish and spices.
There is an argument that creativity is on the decline in the U.S., and I believe it’s because we as American’s don’t make things anymore. Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, in a recent article The Creativity Crisis, describe a test used since the 50’s that attempts to measure creativity in children. Since the beginning, the scores have gone up 10 points with every generation, just like with IQ scores. Then in 1990, the scores surprisingly peaked and reversed.
This post picks up where part 1 left off telling about Interrupted Passage: Mexico City, a project of Julio César Morales and Max La Rivière-Hedrick. In our alternate history, we imagine Vallejo, soon after the quelling of the American revolters, making a trip to Mexico City to discuss the future of California with the supreme Mexican leadership. […]