Monday, 26 December 2011

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Festive Visit to Amsterdam

Below are a few of the places I am planning to visit for research whilst in Amsterdam.

Fast food- FEBO
Present restaurant
Restaurant- DE KAS
Distribution - FOOD CENTRE

If anyone has been to Amsterdam and can suggest anywhere interesting to visit- relevant to my project or not. Then please let me know!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Soup Kitchen:Second Visit

I went back to the soup kitchen, to work this time. I would have liked to get more photos of people there, but it was busy and I was busy. I realised this may have to be regular thing for me to do. I am going back next weekend, I promised some of the people I would be back. There were some young girls there, younger than me. It did make me sad but when I left I felt that I had actually done something good and positive with my Saturday morning. I took some photos of the empty interior, the calm after the storm...

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Visit to a Soup Kitchen

Yesterday in Bournemouth I visited a soup kitchen I had heard about from a friend. I went there with no expectations. I had tried to call and find information online, but it was all very vague and unhelpful. Having lived in Bournemouth for most of my life it was strange to suddenly find an underworld to which I had probably always chosen to 'un-see'. It was dark, crammed and intimidating- but there was also a positive atmosphere and sense of community; I noticed there was no soup being served, but sausage, mash and beans. I was approached by a lady, she put her arm around me and asked if I'd like some food, when I explained I was not there to be fed she looked at me strangely, I explained I would like to speak someone, she once again put her arm around me as if I had something distressing to talk to her about. I explained I was there for study purposes, her body language changed- she moved her arm and urged me to look around the room at how busy it was. I would need to speak to Murial (the lady in charge) she was too busy, so I went to sit in a cafe opposite and enjoyed some paid-for lunch; the atmosphere so far removed from what I had experienced. It was interesting to watch the people; some un-expected, wandering down the alley and then back with a full tummy.

I sat with my cappuccino thinking about how I might approach Murial and ask to take photos. I felt unsure as to whether I would be faced with hostility. The Lansdown Baptist Soup Kitchen has been running successfully for 20 years; although they are constantly battling with local residents, developers, town planners and a majority of the local businesses. They are not wanted here or anywhere and are now suspicious of people like me, for fear of being shut down for health and safety policies. I went back at 1.30pm, people were still grouped outside but the interior of the space looked different. A few stragglers were still in there sat down but most of the chairs and tables had been put away by the diners. Murial came and spoke to me, I told her why I was there. She looked excited at first, I think she thought my project was real! When I mentioned London and the future her face looked disappointed.

I am going back next week to work a shift. The diners were very curious about who I was, not many wanted their photo taken. I need to gain their trust, Murial said I will be able to take more photos next week, even of the tiny kitchen. I think it will be an experience. I will be the youngest voluteer, there are no young people working there. I feel this indicates something sad about my generation.

Monday, 14 November 2011

The cost of food

A graph from showing the rise in cost of food over the period from 1998 to the present.

Crisis Cannibalism

'It is also possible that they were by-products of ‘crisis cannibalism’ – the resorting to human flesh when little or no other food was available.'
Below is an image of a scull cap found in a cave in somerset. It appears to be evidence of cannibalism in the early ages. 

Fancy a drink? A skull discovered in Cheddar Gorge, Somerset, 20 years ago which was used by ancient Britons to drink from

Read more:

In the future will it be necessary for us to change our eating habits? Maybe as a human race this will happen naturally. Survival of the fittest and all that. It is critical for this project to consider the food consumed in the future before trying to tackle the scenario of a hungry, over-cramped inner-city slum. 

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Text : Food In The City

Walk down Brick Lane today and you will be bombarded with the aroma of cooking smells coming from the myriad of food outlets. Then heading down Commercial Street and on to Brune Street, wander past the building engraved ‘Soup Kitchen for the Jewish Poor’ and reflect how lucky we are to have such an abundance of choice these days.  
We understand the concept of cradle to cradle, we are learning to conserve fuel and recycle our precious metals. We worry about the packaging and the fuel costs but should we be more concerned about the contents. The seven billionth person was born last week. They will require perhaps 35 tonnes of food in their lifetime. What will they eat in a city with no food? 
Imagine a starving inner city population reliant on soup kitchens. Is the concept of ‘cradle to table’ depicted in the last frame of the film so shocking? 

Steel, Carolyn. Hungry City: How Food Shapes Our Lives. London: Vintage, 2009.
Dodd, George. The Food Of London. London: Ayer Publishing, 1856.
Kuntsler, James – Howard. The Long Emergency. New York: Grove Press, 2005.
Braungart , Michael. Cradle to Cradle. London: Vintage, 2009.
Despommier, Dickson. The Vertical Farm: Feeding the World in the 21st Century. New York: St Martins Press, 2010.
Suskind, Patrick. Perfume. London: Penguin Books, 1985.
Mieville, China. The City & the City. London: Macmillan, 2009.
Delicatessen. Marc Caro, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Miramax, 1991.
The Cook The Thief His Wife and Her Lover. Peter Greenaway, Miramax, 1989.

Film : Food in the city

comments on a postcard..

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Words from the big book

And there was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very sore, so that the land of Egypt and all the land of Canaan fainted by reason of the famine. And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the corn which they bought: and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh's house. And when money failed in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came unto Joseph, and said, Give us bread: for why should we die in thy presence? for the money faileth. And Joseph said, Give your cattle; and I will give you for your cattle, if money fail. And they brought their cattle unto Joseph: and Joseph gave them bread in exchange for horses, and for the flocks, and for the cattle of the herds, and for the asses: and he fed them with bread for all their cattle for that year. When that year was ended, they came unto him the second year, and said unto him, We will not hide it from my lord, how that our money is spent; my lord also hath our herds of cattle; there is not ought left in the sight of my lord, but our bodies, and our lands (Gen. 47:13-18).

Monday, 31 October 2011

15 x 9 Photographic Food Mapping

Soup Nutrition

Nutritional status of men attending a soup kitchen: a pilot study.
G T Laven and K C Brown

Nutritional status and socioeconomic characteristics of 49 men attending a soup kitchen in a residential neighborhood of Birmingham, Alabama were determined by interview, anthropometry and laboratory assays. Laboratory or anthropometric evidence of nutrient deficiency was present in 94 per cent of the subjects. Deficiency of ascorbate (63 per cent), folate (35 per cent), and thiamin (29 per cent) was higher in these men than in either patients or presumably healthy adults. Since soup kitchen meals provided insufficient vitamin C and folate, additional sources of these nutrients should be provided.
American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 75, Issue 8 875-878, Copyright © 1985 by American Public Health

Just For Sophy.. Rear Window

A few weekends ago my cousin Sophy and I sat down and watched Rear Window, a film by Alfred Hitchcock based on a photographic journalist - Jeff played by James Stewart who, wheelchair bound, spends his days staring out his wondow at his neighbours. He believes he is witness to the murder of one of his neighbours wives and continues to spy on the husband, whom he thought guilty, for additonal evidence. He eventually gets his cop friend, house keeper and girlfriend Lisa played by Grace Kelly all involved. The viewer spends most of the film anticipating 'the look' which comes just at the end when the murdering neighbour turns and you see him, see him watching! My cousin and I both literally winced at this point.

Food plays a vital role in many of Hitchcocks film, he was the son of a greengrocer, and a clear lover of food just going by his waistline! It is said he prepared many of the meals used in his foods, and a book has actually been written documenting the recipes. Quite an important scene of the film is when Lisa brings dinner for Jeff, they get into a discussion about all the events of the past evenings. She serves Lobster which is bought in a big case and by a suit clad gentleman- a superior takeaway.

'... according to a new book out in France this month, the film-maker and gourmand also enjoyed rustling up dishes to star in his movies. In The Sauce Was Nearly Perfect – a pun on the Gallic translation of Dial M for Murder, The Murder Was Nearly Perfect – authors Anne Martinetti and François Rivière have collected the recipes of 80 dishes that made guest appearances in Hitch's films, such as the Moroccan tagine of The Man Who Knew Too Much, the quiche lorraine from To Catch a Thief, a plum bread in Rebecca, a pecan pie in Marnie, Vertigo's Maryland turkey supreme and the trout cooked up in North by Northwest. According to the authors, Hitchcock, who was the son of a greengrocer, also used food as a means to drive the plot. Witness, they say, how key scenes happen around food: a policeman getting frustrated over an overcooked bird in Frenzy, the family meal in Young and Innocent, the picnic scene in To Catch a Thief or the dinner party at the house of writer Isobel Sedbusk in Suspicion.'

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Jewish Soup Kitchen

On Saturday I visited the site again to continue with the photographic mapping of the food outlets.  I took the above photograph on Saturday too. The old Jewish Soup Kitchen is positioned behind Spitalfields, unsure yet what its function is today but guessing its trendy living accommodation. Photo series to follow.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Spitalfields: A History of Food and Poverty

Spitalfields: Maps

The Cook the Thief his Wife and her Lover

The above videa is from The Cook the Thief his Wife and her Lover by Peter Greenaway, 1989.
This clip shows the angry husband taking his wife to the back of the restaurant, the use of colour throughout the film is important; the bathroom scenes white, the kitchen green, the restaurant red and outside blue.

Monday, 24 October 2011

A book

The book above by George Dodd is an interesting look at the food of London in the late 19th Century. There is also a number of mentions of Spitalfields Market, including an interesting table noting the weight in tonnes of food distributed from the main markets in London. Spitalfields fruit and vegetable market is second highest, Covent Garden Market first. 

Inspiration - The Bechers

Above is an image by Bernd and Hilla Becher. The series is composed using the same formula for every photograph; same distance from the camera, sky, scale, colour. The subjects look as though they are of the same subject initially, the lack of colour adding to the 'familiar' feeling. 

Commercial Street to Brushfield Street - photographic food map

The above collection of images depict the series of food outlets found along a journey, Commercial Street to Brushfield Street. The plan is to compile a large series of these to create a book. Street by street every; shop, restaurant, cafe and bar (if serving food), will be photographed and placed in a series. The attempt of doing this will be to provide a different perspective of a place, not just taking a collective image but a series of images with a single theme. The perspective is from the Strollers point of view- a person who strolls around the city taking in what he or she wants to as if of higher meaningful authority. 

The next perspective should be different however, from the users perspective, from the inside looking out, as a participant not an observer. 

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Food and the City

Food is the common link people have to a city. Rarely is a building made without consideration to food; its preparation, its consumption, its storage. The ‘food history’ of a place is easier to swallow than the actual ‘school taught history’ of a place, it is also much easier to imagine a place through ones olfactory senses. Patrick Suskind’s book Perfume creatively describes Paris using smell; although the smells imagined were mostly that of the grotesque kind.  The smell of food is one of the many essences of a city. 
Spitalfields Market and the surrounding streets are packed full of restaurants and food outlets. To map these outlets photographically would provide an overall feeling of the space. To then compare this to historic food mappings would show the critical development. Ultimately a futuristic image of the area and the food supply chain can be envisioned, by distinguishing a pattern along a timeline. 
Delicatessen, the french film by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro perceives an apocalyptic time where food is so so scarce it is used as currency, and where many of the inhabitants have turned to cannibalism in order to retain their carnivorous ways. What happens to a place when most of the shops and ground floor public domain is dominated by food shops, restaurants and delis? What if food wasn’t so conveniently attainable; most of the shops would be derelict; boarded up for fear of riots. What does this mean for our cities?

Google Map, Food Search


Last night I watched Deilcatessen directed by Jeunet and Caro. The film is set in apocalyptic times - where food is seen to be so precious it is used as currency. The film is futuristic but not it the shiny suit, space ship way. In fact a lot of what you see is old fashioned, even the filming. It's quite creepy at times, the main plot of the film is set around a group of apartment residents whose landlord is a butcher. As there is a shortage of meat, the butcher serves up humans - usually the maintenance men who work there for a short while. The residents all know and willingly encourage him...