Kitchen of the Future: Food that Talks

Foodprint project by Sarah Rich and Nicola TwilleyWhat does food tell you? The Foodprint series will wrap its mouth around just that very topic.

The first event, Foodprint NYC, will be held this Saturday at Columbia School of Architecture's Studio-X, and will focus on how social and economic changes, history, technology and policy have influenced the New York food culture. Panelists will also hypothesize the future of New York City's edible landscape.

Sarah Rich and Nicola Twilley, the masterminds behind the series, hope to show connections and the overlap between space, design and food in the city, urging individuals to look at what's on their plates differently.

"We both think that when you look at cities through the lens of food and at food through the lens of cities, you see things you wouldn't see otherwise," says Twilley, referring to urbanism, social behavior, architecture, design and their interplay with food.

New York City was chosen for the series' debut because it is rich in food culture and has "amazing history and space," says Twilley. The duo hopes to conquer Los Angeles next, but they do not want to limit the series to major and coastal cities. Twilley eventually hopes to take the conversation outside the U.S. border to Mexico City and perhaps, her hometown of London.

The free event is drawing a positive buzz in the architecture, design and art world, a welcomed surprise by the organizers who expected it to be limited to New York City's foodie intelligentsia. John Powers, a sculptor based in Brooklyn, says he found out about the series randomly, but was intrigued by the idea of discovering the definition of the 'kitchen of the future.'

The Foodprint NYC attendee whose work is geared toward uncovering diminishing food taboos says he spent the last month writing about the 'kitchen of the future' while working on a video project about modernism as an orientation toward the future. "To me, the kitchen of today--and part of what makes it different from my grandma's 1950s kitchen--is that we have access to things she didn't. We eat such a variety of things and know all kinds of ingredients she wouldn't have been able to identify," Powers adds. "And [the event] sort of struck me as not being about new appliances, but deeper discussions."

So what will we find in our kitchens in the future? Food that talks, says Twilley. "Food will be able to talk to you and tell you where it's from, where it was picked," the writer of the Edible Geography blog says, referring to panelist Marcelo Coelho's 3D food printer, Cornucopia, which--aside from mixing ingredients to create a palatable concoction--offers its users control over the nutritional value, origin and quality of the food. Rich, senior editor of Inhabitat and founding editor of Civil Eats, says she expects to see kitchens outfitted with see-through refrigerators and designated computer areas to satisfy our culture's hunger for more Internet interaction.

For NYC renters, a bigger kitchen space would be a dream, but Rich, who rents in San Francisco, believes that having a small kitchen is a plus. "I don't have to store everything in the kitchen; I love keeping minimal stuff around because it allows me to be really creative. Having a Costco supply in the pantry is actually a burden," Rich says.

Twilley agrees, noting that NYC renters should explore the city's treasures such as the Union Square Greenmarket and ethnic food markets. "One of the great pleasures of New York is how food is woven into the city. Understanding your food landscape means leaving your apartment," she says.
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