- Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas (Artisphere)
There won’t be any special requests at Carole Greenwood's pop-up dinner party this weekend at Artisphere. On picky eaters, she says, “This isn’t a health institution.”
The dinner this Friday, in fact, is taking place at an arts center, where the James Beard Award-nominated chef and artist will cook up an evening of food and conversation reminiscent of the salons in early 20th-century Paris. Food Meets Art: Recipes Inspired by Alice B. Toklas seeks to re-create dinners Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas once held in Paris at their home at 27 Rue de Fleurus. It was the home of Stein’s private art gallery, a place where contemporaries like Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, and Henri Matisse would attend dinner parties.
“There’s a lot of cultural shifts about eating and the way we think about food…beyond that ‘comfortable’ in the modern confines of a restaurant,” says Greenwood, who is the former chef and co-owner of Buck’s Fishing & Camping and Comet Ping Pong. At the dinner parties, “you don’t know where you’re going to be eating, let alone who’s going to be there.”
At the onset of World War I, in cities like Paris and Vienna, people lived in a communal atmosphere, spending time in cafes because there was warmth, coffee, and conversation. This dinner is “about that time and that food and that place,” Greenwood says. “Ideas of how they lived and ate, what are the ingredients for cultivating great thinking and progress and change.”
Greenwood plans to use local ingredients and follow Toklas’ specific instructions on preparation, presentation, and consumption. The menu is an ode to "Food to which Aunt Pauline and Lady Godiva led us,” a chapter in Toklas' cookbook, and will feature rillettes, oysters Rockefeller, salade aphrodite, boeuf Bourgignon, the "Macon Cake," and "bass for Picasso," about which the artist, Toklas wrote, asked "should it not rather have been made in honour of Matisse than of me?”
The dinner is organized by Orange Arrow, whose pop-up meals are merely the beginning of a project for Greenwood. She plans to open a restaurant, but not a usual one. “It’s always about great food, but it’s a lot more than that. [It’s] to remember all the parts of the meal that make it memorable.”
Friday, Jan. 13. Artisphere. Main Gallery. 7 p.m. $150.