high desert test kitchen
january theme: sticks and stones
january 15, 2018 at copper mountain mesa community center


This month we’re trying something different. January’s dinner is the first of two in which we’re not featuring an ingredient, but instead focusing on concepts. The winter is an ideal time to step back and evaluate our relationship to the plants we’ve been harvesting; have we been harvesting in a sustainable manner that doesn’t harm the plant? Are we overharvesting, or diminishing food supplies for wild animals? How can we be better stewards and nurture those plants that we visit for sustenance and culinary inspiration? So while the plant kingdom takes a nap, we’ll leave them alone and instead play with inorganic or non-living materials that create the backdrop for our resting greenery.
Use this month to explore primitive cooking methods, fashion your own kitchen tools, or develop new uses for materials you’ve always overlooked as “scenery,” or never noticed before.

Some material and conceptual fodder: rocks, boulders, sand, fallen trees, dried husks from annuals (like the battalions of straw-colored, dead mustard plants that have invaded this region), the sun, the depression of a wash and other topographies.

Some techniques to try: cooking in a pit, grinding ingredients with found stones or making a site-specific mortar and pestle atop a boulder, cooking vessels from found clay or woven from discarded natural fibers, alternative cooking fuels like resin from pine trees or dried rabbit poop. —Sarah Witt

For more information on HDTK, as well as more helpful tips on this month's theme, check out Sarah's website.

Monday, January 15th at 7pm
Copper Mountain Mesa Community Center
65336 Winters Rd. Joshua Tree, CA

High Desert Test Kitchen (HDTK) is an informal monthly dinner gathering organized by artist Sarah Witt. Participants bring a dish to share that is either made with or inspired by ingredients inhabiting this peculiar span of the North American desert. Exploring the Mojave from a culinary perspective, HDTK naturally intersects with foraging practices and Native American traditions, and inevitably ignites debates concerning ethical human-to-wilderness relationships - hopefully challenging our taste buds too.