Today we begin a new series that explores food and eating in times of collapse. During this Lenten month we’ll travel through different kingdoms and terrains, sharpening our appetites and cooking knives, in the company of artists, filmmakers, writers and activists – starting with an introduction by series editor Charlotte Du Cann.
We are looking at a plate. Tiny translucent slices of fish are artfully arranged around its rim. It is 1990 and we are in a Japanese restaurant in downtown Manhattan. ‘Who is going first?’ we wonder and laugh nervously. I am with Hamilton and Steve. We’ll all go at once we decide and put the poisonous raw fugu in our mouths, declaring that a tingling was definitely happening. The dish costs $50.
We are looking at a plate. On it piled in chunky layers are home-baked sourdough bread, crispy seaweed and a poached egg. It is 2017 and we are outside in the lee of the Dorset cliffs, cooking on a camping stove. Everyone wants to go first. I am with Caroline, Jack and Mark and yesterday we cut the bright green fronds from the rocks, as the aquamarine sea swirled about our feet. We declare this is possibly the best breakfast we have ever had and laugh.
This is a story about food and powerdown. It could seem like a personal story except that it is not: it is a social story about how everything changes when you break the illusions your civilisation is wrapped in. In 1990 I am staying in the Algonquin Hotel, covering the US fashion collections, and I know nothing about the industrial food system; in 2017 I am staying in a hut on a beach, talking about Dark Mountain, and I know all its dark secrets.
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