Comestible® Seven-Day Meal Plan

The project incorporates culinary arts, photography, product design, branding, creative writing (in English), digital cartoons and book arts.

With the support of a 2016 DCASE award for Creative Projects and a 2016 MacDowell National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.

Comestible® Seven-Day Meal Plan / All images, logos, and texts © Pat Badani
They may not be used without permission from the author.

Comestible: Seven-Day Meal-Plan parodies diet plans to enter the bigger debate about money, hope, experience, and ideas related to self-improvement and a better life. The diet plan mocks techniques of foodie lifestyle marketing. Mundane objects such as vegetables, fruits and industrial foodstuffs are recast into an ecosystem that integrates: culinary art (my own inventions), food photography, creative recipe writing, book arts, digital cartoons, and product design, to explore personal and collective anxieties about production, consumption and value. Urgent geopolitical, environmental, labor, and economic narratives are playfully embedded into a cookbook’s recipes and a series of cartoons. Through the subject of food, the work offers insights into how we see ourselves, and what we strive for; it is a visual and textual, whimsical manifesto for cultural change.

Comestible® Seven-Day Meal Plan, boxes containing recipe books and cartoons. © Pat Badani.

The recipe book:
Melding together elements ranging from poetry to children’s rhymes to informed psychobabble, the seven day meal plan contains recipes that are food for thought; ironic propositions that depart from culinary instructions typically found in 'how to' cookbooks. Rather, my texts explore current societal trends over 'what we eat' in recipes titled Changing Climate and Your Greens, Water Stress, Liberalized Trade, Poor Consumer, Cultures and Ferments, Adaptation & Balance ... ; and by organizing my recipes under headings found in pharmaceutical products (Ingredients, Directions, Uses, and Warnings), I imply that food is seen as a 'prescription' for health.

Comestible® Seven-Day Meal Plan, book cover, © Pat Badani.
Comestible® Seven-Day Meal Plan. A facsimile of the physical book, this virtual ‘flip-book’ allows visitors to read the recipes on iPad. Shown at iDAT, Plymouth University (UK), 2017 (Isabella Beyer
interacting with the piece). © Pat Badani.

The daily meal is a powerful human institution and the family dinner table a site where food and home meld into an 'intimate place' of nurture. But, in times when climate change jeopardizes food security the question of 'what will we eat in the future?' has become worrisome. With this concern in mind, Comestible® Seven-Day Meal Plan is a cookbook about food and sustainability that the visitor interacts with by turning the pages of a virtual flip-book on a touch-sensitive screen. The seven meals with photos and corresponding recipes (created by the artist with sustainable ingredients) meld together poetic narratives, notations, instructions, and warnings that sum up the entanglements on the role of food in present and future balance. As if at the edge of language, these recipes are ironic propositions departing from culinary directives. Instead, they explore current societal trends over "what we eat", depicted in recipes appropriately titled "Changing Climate and Your Greens", "Water Stress", "Liberalized Trade", and so forth. Organizedwith headings habitually found in pharmaceutical products, the recipes are sorted by "Ingredients", "Directions", "Uses", and "Warnings", implying that food is seen as a "prescription" for health. Concerned with food-insecure homes, ecological health, and concepts of sustenance, consumption, and nutrition, the artist's food preparation becomes activism and her recipe writing a critical agent. In the spirit that guided the evolution of these recipes, the book invites the reader to travel with the author to new insights, transformations, and actions.
Pat Badani