By Deb A.
The Family Table is a milestone for Agave Magazine + Press. Not only is it Agave's first cookbook, it's also the first co-authored book to be published by Agave. With so much excitement around The Family Table, we decided that five questions simply weren't enough. And so, dear reader, today we proudly present Part I of a special Five Questions series dedicated to the duo responsible for Agave's first look into food and family: Grant Macdonald and Ariana Lyriotakis.
AGAVE: What inspired you to create The Family Table?
ARIANA: Pretty much for as long as we've been together, about 12 years now, we have been tossing around the idea of a cookbook. In truth, we had planned for whatever we produced to be about Grant's journey as a chef in fine dining and classical French cuisine, but The Family Table took us in a completely unforeseen direction.
GRANT: For this particular book, we were most inspired by our children and by traveling. I find it so different to cook in a home kitchen versus a professional one, so the ways in which to best nourish a family of six can be challenging. We have lived all over North America and moved our kids around quite a lot; in a way, the story of your family becomes inextricably linked to food memory. It's a universal theme: food and with whom you share it. Plus, Ariana's writing and photography captures the true spirit of how we live and experience food, especially here in California.
Is there one place in particular that will always inform your cooking?
G: I think it's the arc of your life and maybe not one single place that defines it, if that makes any sense.
A: I would tend to agree. Each location has had incredible and distinct food offerings and I struggle with the fact that I can't have all of these things at once. If I could, I'd have a mythical city of amazing bake shops and patisseries, an endless array of cheeses, meats cooked over live fire, unbelievable heat and spice, diversity of ethnic food, exotic seafood and the freshest produce you can imagine, all enjoyed while watching dolphins and surfers on the ocean, roaming the desert, gazing at skyscrapers and puffing through the snow. This is what a fusion of Montreal, New York, Vancouver, Austin and Santa Barbara would look like.
What recipe are you proudest of?
A: For me, the Mixed Tarte Tatin with Cameo Apples, Grenade Pluots, Beurre Noisette and Fresh Sage. My left hand bares a thick scar as a reminder of recipe testing this one with four children clamoring at my feet on a steaming hot afternoon.
G: Country Chicken Gumbo with Goat's Eye Beans, Corn and Wilted Greens. This is a dish that I could eat often if I could, and it represents a fusion of times and places in our lives. Even the children love it.
What do you hope your readers will take from the book?
A: I hope that this will be a book that people reach for often when cooking, and not just let lounge on their coffee table (although we wouldn't mind that either!) We've divided it into times of day, seasons and celebrations, which includes something to offer every taste.
G: Hopefully, The Family Table will inspire others to take our recipes and to even transform them into something that suits their families, and to find their own stories contextualized in food and location.
Sweet or savoury?
A: Savoury. Unless we're talking about pie...
G: Both. No other option!
The Family Table is available for purchase in the Agave online shop.
By Denise Levertov
A voice from the dark called out,
“The poets must give us
imagination of peace, to oust the intense, familiar
imagination of disaster. Peace, not only
the absence of war.”
But peace, like a poem,
is not there ahead of itself,
can’t be imagined before it is made,
can’t be known except
in the words of its making,
grammar of justice,
syntax of mutual aid.
A feeling towards it,
dimly sensing a rhythm, is all we have
until we begin to utter its metaphors,
learning them as we speak.
A line of peace might appear
if we restructured the sentence our lives are making,
revoked its reaffirmation of profit and power,
questioned our needs, allowed
long pauses. . .
A cadence of peace might balance its weight
on that different fulcrum; peace, a presence,
an energy field more intense than war,
might pulse then,
stanza by stanza into the world,
each act of living
one of its words, each word
a vibration of light—facets
of the forming crystal.
By Deb A.
The way to a person's heart is through the stomach--it's an old saying (rendered gender-neutral here because... well, because it's 2015), but no less true for its age.
Celebrated chef Grant Macdonald understands very well the intricate intertwinings of food and love: while his culinary imagination and thoughtfulness has found expression in some of the most notable restaurants in North America, it all begins in his own kitchen, where he prepares meals for and with his wife, writer and photographer Ariana Lyriotakis, and their four children.
The Family Table, published by Agave Press, is the culinary story of Grant and Ariana's family of six. It is a cookbook of humble ingredients, shared meals, and good company.
From Montreal to Santa Barbara via New York, Vancouver and Austin, Grant and his family seek out local ingredients and imbue them with personal meaning, creating new dishes, new tastes, new adventures. As a collection of favourite recipes, anecdotes, and food-inspired moments, The Family Table is designed to be enjoyed for generations to come.
The Family Table is available as a full-colour, 150-page hardcover with dust jacket for order now at Agave Press. It is printed in the USA.
"Moving locations as often as we do means that we have been endowed with a generous gift of a variety of food cultures, ingredients and culinary traditions. This proximity to a rich bounty of North American cooking—the ability to experience things locally from near and far—has been immeasurably cultivating in how we perceive cooking in all its diverse forms, on a daily basis."
By Deb A.
If you're reading this, you have all it takes to go to one of the largest contemporary art fairs of the year.
The Wrong (again) is a biennial celebration of digital art that takes place both online and in over 40 real-life locations around the world. With more than 500 contributing artists, the event has no theme beyond its stated goal: "to create, promote, and push positive forward-thinking contemporary digital art to a wider audience worldwide". It is fully accessible and free for both participants and visitors.
In Vancouver, "The New Flesh" examines our perceptions and understanding of our physical bodies in a digital age. This particular exhibition, like some others taking place at The Wrong (again) 'embassies', will not be available online so as to cultivate a sense of community amongst visitors and to take advantage of interactive artworks.
Works such as Scot Cotterel's 'Curated Ebay PDF' build a slightly looser community online, by creating an "open invitation-based curatorial exchange project" that asks would-be curators to submit their favourite artworks from eBay. By way of explanation: "ITS (sic) AN EXHIBITION, AS A PDF, CURATED BY YOU, INVITED BY ME, BECAUSE THE INTERNET".
There are virtual pavillions for internet and poetry, for architecture and sound art, for gender concepts, for ontology, for virtual sculptures; you can even submit an original digital 3D model to be printed and included in the exhibition. While that particular offer is first-come, first-served, The Wrong (again) lasts until January 31st, so we all have time to digest the best of digital art.
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