Link Buffet: Oceans Rise, Empires Fall

I am sad to hear that The Toast, which I have read and actively commented in since its opening, will be closing on July 1. The Toast has provided many fun pieces to my link roundups over the years, including the glorious series of movie reviews by A Meat Processing Professional (MPP, where can I find you?) and every scene of eating in various works of classic literature,

To this whimsical body of work let me add the more recent Every Meal Lucy Snowe Almost Eats in Villette. This is peak Toast: I would never have read Charlotte Bronte’s less famous lonely orphan schoolteacher story if not for that website, but thanks to The Toast’s unapologetic love of 19th century literature and lesbian subtext, I greatly enjoyed the excerpted food scenes and summarizing titles such as “Deception Bread” and “Exhaustion Broth.”

Coincidentally, last week a gallery in Lisbon featured an installation of hundreds of pieces of toast nailed to the wall:


The nuances of this piece are a little over my head: the artist, Yonamine, is Angolan, and some of the slices are toasted with a portrait of the Angolan President. Others have numbers, and the piece is titled “Our Daily Bread.” If you’d like a close-up look, check out the gallery’s Facebook page. If you’d like your Toast Art a little less political, Know Your Meme has got you covered.

It’s a good week for grain art. I wish this delightful New Yorker article included an image of artist Kader Attia’s model fortress built out of couscous, but the descriptions are vivid:

Standing in for the adobe of the original was another ancient North African invention: couscous—around seven hundred and seventy pounds of it.
The fourth-floor gallery where Attia and a brigade of art handlers worked was enclosed with plastic sheeting, like a construction site. A piece of paper taped to the plastic declared, “CAUTION! ART!” Aromas redolent of a Middle Eastern restaurant hung in the air as three thirty-two-gallon trash cans filled with couscous were wheeled in. This was the final batch, cooked downstairs at the Wright, the museum’s restaurant, following Attia’s recipe: measure couscous into a pan, add a heap of table salt, and steep, covered, in hot water for five minutes.

I always, always want to read about repurposed food waste, so here is a science alert about combining spent coffee grounds with other manufacturing byproducts to make roads:

“I see the baristas throwing away the used coffee grounds and I think, ‘Why not look at this as an engineering material?'” says Arulrajah, who is an avid coffee drinker.

Yes, let’s look at food waste as an engineering material! Sign me up for this experiment! I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with my used coffee grounds for years.

For another intriguing example of repurposing the detritus of consumer excess: this Arizona family turned their swimming pool into a working farm. Now look: I am extremely pro swimming pool. I was lucky enough to grow up with one, and there is nothing in the world better for cooling off in a hot climate, exercising sore muscles and joints, or bringing friends and family together in the summer. But swimmings pools require care and maintenance, and these folks moved into a house where the pool was damaged and decayed, so this little in-ground farm is a pretty amazing new use for it.

In the last buffet, I linked to an article about the nutritional importance of pleasure in eating. As a followup, you might enjoy this long read from Ruby Tandoh, which recaps the same research within her narrative of how the pursuit of “clean” eating can sometimes lead to orthorexia and disordered relationships with food.

The above pairs nicely with this Guardian roundup of doctors and dieticians debunking the myth of food detox.

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