Making the Empire Christmas Pudding, artwork by F.C. Harrison produced for the Empire Marketing Board, 1926-39

22 December 2020

Part 1 | The Welcome

Aaron Cezar: This time of the year is always a reflective one at Delfina Foundation. It marks the end of our seasonal programme as well as the calendar year. In this most tumultuous of years, our greatest joy was in resuming our programmes in September and hosting six international residents this autumn alongside three UK associate artists. As these residents return home – following a productive, if unusual season (catch up here) – we sincerely hope that we can welcome new residents as soon as possible in the new year.

The end of the calendar year is a time in which we all gather with family and our dearest friends to celebrate the festive season with food and look forward to the year to come. Due to the pandemic and related restrictions, many of us will not be able to gather in person as hoped. In this light, we offer you a special edition of our Family Lunch: Home Delivery.

The artist duo Cooking Sections, who have taken part in several seasons of our Politics of Food programme, present their project CLIMAVORE, which speculates on how to eat as humans change the climate. They also share a recipe for Tidal Crispbread, made from seaweeds that can help restore our oceans. This recipe is one that connects to the ideas explored in their new commission at Tate Britain, Salmon: A Red Herring (2 December 2020 – 28 February 2021). Alongside this we are also delighted to publish online their contribution to our 2019 Politics of Food book, tracing the imperial and postcolonial food systems contained in the ‘gastronomic paradox’ of a traditional English Christmas pudding.

From all of us here at Delfina Foundation, we thank you again for your continued support this year, and wish you and your loved ones a safe and restful holiday season.

Part 2 | The Food – Appetiser

Tidal Crispbread – Cooking Sections

Our former UK associate artists share a recipe for Tidal Crispbread, made with several types of seaweed – a plant which can help regenerate costal ecologies.

Cooking Sections, Tidal Crispbread (Spirulina), 2018. Photo: Lourdes Cabrera

Ocean water is becoming more and more polluted by intensive, open-net fish farms. One exemplary case is farmed salmon. The fish are heavily dependent on antibiotics and pork- and fish-based colouring feed pellets to achieve the salmon colour consumers expect from salmon flesh.

Salmon is indeed a red herring. Grown in open-net cylinders containing about one million fish per farm, these environments have a dramatic effect on both the body of the fish and the seabed. Hundreds of kilos of salmon manure are deposited into the sea every minute, devastating the ecosystem underneath while stimulating outbreaks of parasites and disease, like lethal sea lice.

Unlike intensive salmon farming which produces an excess of nitrogen, other aquacultures clean water by breathing and eating. One mussel is able to filter up to 25 litres of water per day and one oyster can filter up to 50. So do other bivalves like clams, scallops, and razor clams, as well as a wide range of seaweeds, especially kelp – one of the hungriest for carbon dioxide. In addition to being crucial agents in removing pollutants from coastal seawater, these creatures provide a good source of protein without the need for irrigation or fertilisers.

2 tbsp spirulina
50g dried alaria or wakame
10g dulse flakes
10g sea lettuce flakes
300g rolled oats
1200ml water
240g spelt flour
2tbs heather honey
5g kummel seeds
500g flax seeds
180g wheat bran

Next time you swim among slimy algae, think why before cursing.

Soak oats in water for at least six to twelve hours.

Preheat the oven to 160ºC.

Leaving the alaria, dulse and sea lettuce aside, add the rest of the ingredients to the soaked oats and mix well.

Line baking trays with silicone pads and spread the batter evenly and thinly. Spread the alaria with the dulse and sea lettuce flakes over the batter.

Bake in the oven for forty to fifty minutes until the bread is dry, crisp, and golden.

While baking you can start plotting your rope-grown seaweed farm. With as little as fifty pounds worth of rope and buoys, you can set up a sea allotment that would yield you enough for the year.

Part 2 | The Food – Dessert

Empire Remains Christmas Pudding – Cooking Sections

Read the artist’s research into imperial and postcolonial food systems contained in the ‘gastronomic paradox’ of a traditional English Christmas pudding.

Cooking Sections, Empire Remains Christmas Pudding, 2017. Made and served at Delfina Foundation.

Part 3 | The presentation

Cooking Sections – Former UK associate artists, Politics of Food, 2014.

Coinciding with the recent opening of their solo exhibition at Tate Britain, artist duo Cooking Sections speak about their practice, exploring questions around food, ecology, architecture, and visual arts.


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