Boing Boing on Food Sculptures

Zhan Wang sculpted San Francisco out of cookware. Liz Hickok recreated the city of lights in Jello. I didn’t know about either artist at the time I wrote my post on art made of food. Both pieces had the right combination of strange and wonderful to make it to Boing Boing. You can go see Wang’s sculpture On Gold Mountain at the Asian Art Museum through May 25, 2008.

I really would like to write more. There’s so much amazing history connected with cookware and jello and art. No, seriously. I’d probably start with the connection between Jell-o and Cooper Union, move on to all that awesome gelatin ephemera and go from there. Sigh. Another time.

on gold mountain
Photo: mental.masala
San Francisco sculpted in cookware – Boing Boing

jello palace of fine arts

Photo: kwc
San Francisco In Jell-O on display in SF – Boing Boing

Virginia Ham, Virginia Tech…Virginia Ham Technique?!

All right, Culinary Historians of Washington DC, I’ll admit it, I’m jealous. Wait…Envy, check. Gluttony, check. Hmm, better watch myself. That’s two down, five to go. Anyway, the second of this year’s lectures at Virginia Tech’s Peacock-Harper culinary collection is about ham. Sam W. Edwards III will be speaking about the history and production of Virginia hams, and giving a tour of his 83 year-old business, Edwards’ Virginia Hams. I’ll write to the library to ask if they’ll podcast the event for those of us unable to make the trip, but I’m not holding my breath. If you go, tell me about it, please.

PEACOCK-HARPER CULINARY HISTORY FRIENDS GROUP<br /> Presents<br /> “The Romance of Virginia Ham: History and Production ”<br /> with<br /> Sam W. Edwards, III<br /> Owner of Edwards’ Virginia Hams, producer of highly renowned Virginia hams<br /> acclaimed by Gourmet magazine<br /> Friday, May 23, 2008, 9:30 a.m.<br /> Edwards’ Virginia Hams<br /> 11455 Rolfe Highway, Surry, VA<br /> Enjoy learning about Sam Edwards’s Virginia hams and the history of Virginia ham.<br /> Tour his Virginia ham processing facility in Surry, Virginia, and see the production techniques<br /> used in the creation of Virginia’s wonderful hams. On the evening prior to Mr. Edwards’s talk<br /> and tour, savor a dinner at the King’s Arms Tavern and a restful night at the Hospitality House in<br /> Colonial Williamsburg. Cross the James River on the ferry that started Mr. Edwards’ grandfather<br /> in the Virginia ham business. Sam’s grandmother prepared ham biscuits for the passengers, and<br /> so popular were these morsels that the Edwards’ Virginia ham business grew into the business<br /> that it is today. Lunch will be at the Surry House in Surry after the talk and tour.

A Map of Cookbook Stores

View Larger Map
Again with the Saveur back issues. I found a list of some book stores specializing in cook books. I thought I’d make a map so from here on out, we won’t be, like, in Paris or Zurich, cursing and struggling to remember the name and location of that awesome book store…

I included name, address, phone number & the names of the owners. Tell me about your favorite cook book store! I’ll add it to the list, which is currently…

  • Barbara-Jo’s Books to Cooks
  • Bibliotheca Gastronomica
  • Bon Appetit Cook Books
  • Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks
  • Books for Cooks
  • The Cookbook Stall
  • Cook Books by Janet Jarvits, Bookseller
  • The Cook’s Library
  • Kitchen Arts and Letters
  • Librairie Gourmande
  • Rabelais
  • Wine & Food Library

Canstruction : A Can Do Approach to Fighting Hunger

Architects, contractors & engineers create large sculptures made of full cans of food. Teams raise money to pay for cost of materials for their can sculptures. After the competition concludes, the cans of food are donated to organizations dedicated to fighting hunger. Since Canstruction first started in 1993, it has generated over ten million pounds of food donations from hundreds of competitions, nationwide. The Canstruction website has a list of cities hosting competitions on it’s upcoming events page. I can’t wait to go to one of these competitions. Incidentally, I have no regrets about the pun in the title for this post, and I think it’s awesome that someone recreated the Warhol Campbell’s soup can for a Canstruction contest. For great pictures from past contests, check out the official website or go to and search for Canstruction.

Photo: Mark Busse

Photo: Sonson

C.M. Reinhardt, I covet your living space!

Burwell Public Library

Photo: Nebraska Memories

I love the aesthetic experience of libraries, the beauty of the buildings, furniture and books. Would I like to live in a library? The thought has crossed my mind. And apparently, I’m not the only one. When the Garfield County Library moved to more modern environs, Food Network Exec Christianna Reinhardt bought the building, and transformed a piece of her hometown’s history into a beautiful home. I found a story on the project while paging through back issues of Saveur magazine. Librarian blog has a post called of kitchens and card catalogs with more details about the project. Reinhardt is now opening Sweet Georgine’s Bakeshop in Omaha. I’ll have to go next month while I’m there for my cousin Ian’s wedding.

Here in Ann Arbor, the old Carnegie Library is being preserved, though not so completely. After Ann Arbor High School burned in 1904, the district built a new school on the same ground, adding a new library thanks to 30K from Andrew Carnegie. In 1955, the City of Ann Arbor sold the location to the University of Michigan, which tacked on an addition, and in 2007 demolished the building, save for the facade of the library.
The facade will be incorporated into the new building. Points for the nod to the library symbol of education, learning etc, but so far I like Ms. Reinhardt’s project better.
Ann Arbor Carnegie Library Facade

Photo: phil dokas

Fillin & Yeh Collection of Gastronomic Literature Auction

Over one hundred rare cookbooks from the Fillin-Yeh collection went up for sale at Swann Auction Galleries this past Monday. The New York Times did a little piece about the auction, which included some pretty important books, including Mrs. Levy and Amelia Simmons, some inscribed 1st edition MFK Fisher, etc.

The auction house website has the catalog kinda hidden, and I can’t link to their dynamically generated ASP stuff, so I made it more accessible. Here is a text only catalog of lots for Sale 2141, Early Printed Books / Gastronomic Literature from April 7, 2008. The print catalog is available for sale on Swann’s site for $35. Above are pictures of a few lots from the sale.

Food Songs Mixtape….Food Safety Music!

Professor Carl Winter has a webpage of Food Safety Music. My favorite is Clonin’ DNA, a song to the tune of Surfin’ USA by the Beach Boys. A toxicologist with the UC Davis Food Science & Technology Department, Winter rocks out on synths to popular songs, with rewritten lyrics, about food safety. Yes, there’s video. Thank you to Professor Winter and the internet, for blowing my mind.

I put together a collection of songs about food. You can listen to it online at
It’s way less interesting and awesome than Professor Winter’s songs. And it’s more Pour Some Sugar on Me than Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy; actually neither of those songs is on there. A friend commented that he hadn’t ever seen Jimmy Buffet and The Smiths on the same playlist before.

Others have created far more extensive and inclusive lists of songs about food. The Food Section compiled a list of one hundred! And Peter Bochan at WBAI put together a whopping 525 song playlist about food. My hat is off to them.

Culinary Research Class : New York Public Library

Friday April 4, 3:15 – 4:15
42nd & 5th

What are you doing this Friday? If the answer isn’t “making my way to NYC for an introduction to culinary research in one of the world’s premier libraries”, then I presume that, like me, you’ll be sighing a lot and wistfully gazing at images from Libraries by photographer Candida Höfer, while eating a pastrami sandwich the size of a football.

Librarian Rebecca Federman is teaching the class. Here’s the post about it on her blog, Cooked Books. I think free, public events about food and culinary history from top institutions are a really big deal. Serious popular interest in food has grown with the rise of the Food Network. But that interest hasn’t quite extended to culinary history, and the culinary history community seems to be deliberately at arms length. I look forward to seeing this change.

The Farmers’ Museum

How was I unaware of this? Check out the events calendar for the Farmers’ Museum in Upstate New York.

Spring Beekeeping A workshop offering an introduction to the fundamentals of beekeping!


Photo: TW Collins

From Udder to Butter?! Start by milking a cow and finish by eating the butter you finished churning! Gah!


Photo : Vicious Bits

They Farmers’ Museum has tons of awesome events like this all year round. Sweet succulent living history! They’ve also got a behind the exhibit scenes lecture series. Makes sense, what with the graduate program museum studies program in town. The lecture series is titled food for thought…when I have a chance, I’ll put something on the blog to count instances of this phrase that I find. (I admit I considered food for thought as a name for this blog.)

Anyway, next time you’re in Cooperstown, enjoy the Farmers’ Museum. And while you’re in town, you might inquire about other area museums. I heard they have one just dedicated to baseball!

**Note, for you readers who want to get your apiary on, but cannot attend the beekeeping workshop, try WC Harbison’s 1860 classic work Bees and Beekeeping. University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman mentioned this ‘bible of beekeeping’ a her speech on the value that full-text digital collections. Michigan’s hard copy was rarely used, but the scanned version in the Making Of America collection gets tons of views. Cool eh?**
bees and beekeeping

Table Manners : Mealtime Art & Craft Exhibit

Table Manners
March 29 through September 14, 2008
The Arizona Museum for Youth

Table manners is at a museum in Mesa, Arizona. Mesa is Spanish for table. Coincidence? Not Very Likely. The exhibit will be very hands on. Kids will learn to use chopsticks, fold napkins, etc. They’ll use the food pyramid to plan meals and create place settings.

The art on display will include metalwork, ceramic, prints, sculptures and more. Sounds like good family fun. For some reason, though, it makes me think of Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party. Is that weird?
The Dinner Party

Photo: zzzed