Dana Sherwood, Olafur Eliasson, and other artists share some of their favorite recipes.
As much of the world hunkers down, practicing social distancing and sheltering in place, everyday life is shifting dramatically. And for artists, like the rest of us, that means preparing for an extended stay at home by stocking up their larders.
In search of a little culinary inspiration, we turned to artists who have worked with food in their practices, either as a material or subject matter, to ask them what they’re cooking during these unprecedented times.
Here are the dispatches they sent in from around the world—from New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Italy, Thailand, and more—on their favorite recipes, their strategies for stocking up for long stretches, and advice special diets. So as we face this extended period of home isolation, we hope their contributions get your own creative culinary juices flowing.
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When it came time to stock my kitchen cupboards for an undetermined period of time, I found I was already pretty well stocked with basics like flour, sugar, yeast, and the like. I tend to amass food like a collector and have many exciting ingredients from my travels, like rosewater from Istanbul, tamarind paste from Indonesia, and whole buckwheat from Mongolia.
I recently got a good recipe for beans from Tamar Adler on her podcast, Food Actually. I’ve made her beans twice so far. Once with chickpeas and once with white beans. It makes a good quantity and lasts for several meals. I kind of changed it up each time, having it once with sautéed greens.
The main difference with Tamar’s recipe is to add salt right from the beginning of cooking, debunking an old food myth. The other is adding a ton of olive oil as the beans cook. So, as far as shopping for quarantine goes, I did purchase a large quantity of dried beans and garlic, as well as a lot of olive oil and butter.
The most important thing these days is community. My heart goes out to those among us who are alone, who have compromised immune systems, who have lost their way to make a living, to the imprisoned, the elderly, and all of us who are scared and unsure of what’s to come.
I am a survivalist at heart. During my recent research in Ulaan Bataar, Mongolia, I learned from the nomadic herders to add butter to my tea to give it density and satisfying fat calories. I also learned how to make very simple homemade dumplings from my friend, the Mongolian artist, Tuguldur Yondonjamts. It is remarkably easy to do.
Dana Sherwood’s Mongolian buuz. Photo courtesy of the artist.
1 lb ground lamb (or beef if you don’t have lamb)
1 small chopped raw onion
First, mix the chopped lamb and the onion in a bowl and mix it up with your (sanitized) hands. Add a pinch of salt.
This is a little vague, but that’s kind of how they roll in Ulaanbaatar. Mix flour, a tiny bit of salt and water until it is the consistency of pizza dough, not too sticky. You can add a little oil to this mix if you like. Roll the dough into a log and cut into ½ inch slices so you have a flat disc the size of a cookie. Coat your hands with flour to keep the dough from sticking as you form little, flat tortillas in your palm. You can also roll them out on a board with a rolling pin if that’s easier.
Try and get the dough in your palm as thin as possible, then drop a heaping teaspoon of the meat mixture into the center.
Then you pinch all the edges together until you have a little dumpling shape like a gyoza or a juicy bun.
Grease your steamer basket (we use a veggie steamer because we don’t have a fancy dumpling steamer) with butter or oil and steam for 10 minutes or so until cooked.
Eat with dumpling sauce made from soy sauce and rooster sauce or similar… however you like your dumplings!
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