Chapter 16. Cooking and Eating across Species: Natalie Jeremijenko’s Cross(x)Species Adventure Club
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279 Chapter 16 Cooking and Eating across Species Natalie Jeremijenko’s Cross(x)Species Adventure Club Lindsay Kelley LURES: wishing fish well gin rosemary grapefruit juice tonic velvet falernum lime juice bitters chitinase The major source of mercury in our bodies is from fish. These lures were designed as delicious cross species nutrition that is visual and sensually appealing. The hook is there is no hook, but there is chelating agent that when ingested (by fish or human) bind to the bio-­ accumulated heavy metals and PCB, and allow the organisms to pass these out of their bodies in a complexed and less reactive form. These then bound forms settle into the silt,and are effectively removed bioavailability . Small actions to feed the fish can aggregate 280 Not for Art’s Sake­ significant effect, augment the nutritional resources and improve the health of fish, aquatic ecosystems and humans.1 Natalie Jeremijenko asks, “Can we rescript our interactions with nature?”2 Her answer focuses in part on the food we share with animals .Jeremijenko’s Cross(x)Species Adventure Club hosts supper clubs that feature menus designed to promote interaction between animals, plants,and humans.Environmental remediation begins by addressing the“bio-amplification that happens through the food web.”3 Cooking and recipe development emerge as scientific practices with implications for ecological well-being across species. Consider mercury, and Jeremijenko’s Lures, a recipe and social experiment that she considers to be “the iconic example” of the project.4 Most of the mercury in human bodies comes from eating fish contaminated by methylmercury .5 Fish quickly absorb mercury from waterways polluted by human activities like burning coal, but they excrete these metals very slowly. To clear mercury from human and fish bodies, the Cross(x) Species Adventure Club developed lures laced with chitinase, a chelating agent that transforms heavy metals into harmless salts.6 This approach enfolds an entire ecosystem: the lures are edible for both fish and humans, and if fish can eliminate heavy metals more quickly, the entire food web benefits. The chitinase lures promote companionship and entanglement. Companion,cum panis,means sharing food together.Companionship can arise from almost any act of sharing.With the lures, humans and fish share a diet engineered for environmental remediation. Sharing these particular foods promotes an active, interventionist companionship anchored in bodily processes. Human and fish flesh process methylmercury in tandem,mirroring and undoing the cycles of pollution and consumption that created our present need for these targeted foods.Lures model food webs and ecosystems to suggest how humans might change the way they act within these systems. Jeremijenko’s recipes alter the composition of human and animal bodies—eating together becomes world making. With a cookbook in progress, Cross(x)Species Adventure Club Cooking and Eating across Species 281 has hosted meals in venues around the world. Jeremijenko’s menus include a meal designed for geese and people, cocktails focused on the environmental impact of oil spills,and investigations of water,soil, and terroir.She collaborates with molecular gastronomist Mihir Desai and food designer Emilie Baltz to produce foods with unexpected forms and textures. Of her decision to use molecular gastronomy, Jeremijenko explains that “the complexity of the tastes that people are experiencing makes them open to hearing about these complex systems and processes that they would otherwise not be motivated to hear.”7 Creating change demands new technologies,unexpected combinations , and interspecies alliances. While eating a technologically sophisticated meal like those prepared for Cross(x)Species Adventure Club,we begin to understand ways in which our bodily processes mirror larger processes at work in the world—we see our intestines as wetlands, and our human microbiomes as atmospheres, oceans, and fertile soils. Most of our meals do not provoke these sorts of reflections . How do Cross(x)Species Adventure Club menus succeed in demonstrating the connections between the multitude of organisms and systems that make up our bodies and the ecologies that make up our surroundings? In part, these connections are facilitated by the mechanisms of molecular gastronomy. Inspired by laboratory experiments and chemistry and “the science of flavor,” molecular gastronomy combines textures and ingredients in unexpected ways. René Redzepi’s Copenhagen restaurant Noma promotes Nordic cuisine, houses a research laboratory, and takes up molecular gastronomy techniques (Redzepi worked at Ferran Adrià’s El Bulli before opening Noma). Noma and Cross(x) Species Adventure Club both aim to, in Redzepi’s words,“experience the sensation of time and place.”8...