Sunday, 25 April 2010

Sun Burgers for Black Lab (written before the food event)

My recipe is sun burgers. These are raw, vegan burgers, with all their living enzymes intact. A good choice for a Sun Day, and for the vibration of the Gold (or Sun) Energy which many associate with Jesus.
Perhaps Jesus was raw love, and his ideas have become “cooked” and poisonous – often not on purpose, but as a result of processing with heat which is too fervent.
The Black Lab has been good. I have had some really good times, and met/got to know better people whose company I’ve really enjoyed.
Maybe the limited food we have at the lab (and have the potential to make) has meant limited ideas – ideas have been pretty heavily theoretically “processed” or “cooked”. Andy’s jokey assertion that we could make “hot crisps” was an interesting variant – trying to cook something again which is already heavily cooked. This is in part due to having limited kitchen equipment, of course! But even if we did have it, I think mostly what was sought was a gas stove right? Illustrating that it’s often not really the equipment that’s lacking, it’s the idea. Or perhaps we have the idea, but because it’s uncommon to our social ideas of eating, we think we should opt for the great leveller – the bag of fucking crisps! We know everyone can stomach these – right? Right?
When I say ideas have been theoretically processed or cooked, what I mean is that there has been a lot of high theory (or at least heavy reference to it). I enjoy this sometimes, but I always appreciate it better when it is grounded in my experience and not too far abstracted. This is not the fault of theory, or of my experience. It’s just that I find theory offers highly concentrated thoughts which have relevance for me when they are touchable. I can “grasp” thoughts and abstraction well, and this comes naturally as well as being a skill I’ve been trained in, but I don’t feel the relevance of doing it anymore. I don’t want to grasp, I want to caress – to be able to engage in mutual embrace and discover complexity and depth in understanding something simple, and allow it to become part of me, and me of it. This is where I’m at. A personal sense of communion. A phenomenological “sense” of communion. Of course you can relate this feeling to theory too! But my view right now is that you can explain or explore absolutely ANYTHING with theory. Anything at all. And yet if it isn’t meaningful to you, if you don’t feel it, if you’re not drawn to it, it’s just an exercise. Yes, it can become more than that in the process, but why not begin with a connection that is felt, or, more precisely, known? It’s an indication.
After reading this last bit over, I imagine there will be some laughter at the terms “caress” and “embrace”. I’m not using these terms to try to be “risqué” (do the burgers need sauce? Ah, perhaps they do!). I think our bodies are often considered with embarrassment, tied up with cultural shame about sex, and almost always considered in relation to sex. And this is maybe why if we begin to release hang-ups about food, the body will become a little more free to be expressive and enjoyed.
It often seems that imagination runs out when dealing with food on a day to day level, and we tend to forget about the materiality of our bodies, the way they ground our ethical stances, the way they are responsible often for a lot of the activity of our minds and consciousness. To look to food to help take communion to a new level is, I believe, imperative. Not only is it the way we can commune with and help heal the earth (and thereby each other), not only is it how we can sustain life and nourish growth, not only is it how we can help ourselves to access higher consciousness, not only is it a way to experience pleasure, it is also how we can make politically active choices which can make massive differences to the capitalism we live with (and have, to a degree, chosen) and move towards a less wasteful (less packaged, less separated) and more unified and holistic (whole-y) way of life.
Cooking is only a relatively recent discovery/invention in the scale of mankind’s existence, and many people consider it a big player in the game of cancer.
But choosing raw can also be tricky – you eschew social traditions which revolve around eating together, you can be heavily mocked, and criticised more than usual.
Referring to Caravaggio’s painting, it’s meaningful that they haven’t started eating yet! Maybe the implication is that they’re eating with their souls, listening to Jesus, and have no need for physical sustenance. Anyhow, the food, while more vividly and centrally presented than in Da Vinci’s depiction, is being pretty much ignored by Jesus and friends. Perhaps they’ll eat it to appease the tensions from the discussion they’re having or perhaps they consider it an unimportant use of time faced with the preciousness of (Jesus’ last) words. It seems as if nobody wants to eat because it’ll hinder their capacity to talk (or maybe they’re waiting for Jesus to take the first bite). So, really, does Caravaggio place importance on food as communion, or on talking? It is the words that are being shared, the concept of the Eucharist, not “the body”, the realisation. “The Last Supper” painting isn’t really about material food, implying that “supper” isn’t really just about food. This we clearly know. But maybe it’s not really enough about food! “Supper” has become (apart from an antiquated term that’s often now associated with the class system in Britain) too symbolic, automatic, and not embodied enough – we think and we talk (maybe some of us don’t even do that at “supper”), but do we think about what we are eating, and how we eat it? It is matter, and it does matter.
You know how when people have that conversation about "what would you have for your last meal, if condemned to death?", rather than going home and making that a reality for themselves (and surprisingly the answer is often quite a simple meal – not generally gourmet or out of reach), and eating it as if it were their last, they probably don’t bother, losing the potential to really enjoy the moment, and replacing it instead with talking about it, describing it. Words become a (disembodied) substitute – essentially, a fetish (consider the problems caused by taking the Bible too literally).
So, I give to you all these nourishing raw sun burgers, made without loss of animal life, made from ingredients which have directly used the sun’s energy, in the knowledge that they will give you something which cooked burgers can’t. I want you to have eaten them prior to reading this, or during, so that when you do read or hear these words, you have something to embody them in.


  1. A news story about a Gujurati man of 83 who claims to have survived without food and water for 70 years. Maybe much less food is the way to go (and more spiritual unity)! So perhaps they were right not to tuck in while at the last supper. ;)

  2. on a tangent here's some solar cookers we were talking about


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