Food versus objects

Wendy

Wendy

Amory

Amory

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Shopping for food is my hobby. Avoiding supermarkets, I visit every farmers market and small shop I can find. Eventually in each city I develop a route through the territory, often sourcing just one or two favored items from each shop. I’m foraging for quality and rarity – and of course, flavors I love. My process in sourcing the products is one of many factors that give the ingredients I cook with their most important character: context.

If an ingredient has no context –no story, provenance, maker, conversation, memory– then I’m not inspired to cook with it.

But objects are different. Although I’m equally selective about objects, they rarely have stories or provenance. So the meaningfulness and inspiration of each object happens from the moment I contact it. This includes the all-important act of finding, always in used shops and flea markets, an activity that requires full concentration, more if I’m not seeking to solve a particular problem, just treasure-hunting.

When I am searching for a solution to a household problem, I often find it in a form not usually related to that purpose. This act of creativity adopts the object into my story, my personality. It becomes an expression of my way of thinking, seeing, and designing.

When I fall for an object and cannot walk too far from it, I am allowing a new –as yet, unformed– idea into my life. Drawn back, I follow it, learning its message for me.

These objects become loyal lovers, and I carry them in my suitcases, like my wood-handled Shun knives and soft-edged measuring spoons, which have traveled around the world with me several times.

What food and objects have in common is that their most essential character –beauty– pre-exists our meeting.