Friday, 22 April 2011

MOMA - Counter Space

The exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art charts the design evolution of the kitchen from the post-war industrial period right up to the end of the twentieth century. The era begins with the Frankfurt Kitchen after World War I, where compact and ergonomic designs were integrated to storage, appliances and work surfaces. Designed and built by architect Grete Schütte-Lihotzky, it was installed in public-housing estates built around Frankfurt-am-Main and reflected a commitment to transform the lives of ordinary people on an ambitious scale.

An advertisement of a kitchen floor plan in the Frankfurt style.

Vermin infestations in New York occur most frequently above subway stations, which are breeding grounds for rats and mice. It is a common sighting to see tails scurry across the dining floor at restaurants in Grand Central station. A professor at ICE conducted an undercover report of a Chinese restaurant a few years back, where they filmed a posse of rats scurrying about the stoves, woks and counter tops of the restaurant in the basement of the station. When the chef arrived the next morning, he immediately shooed off the rats (which retreated single file back to their nest) and to everyone's horror, began cooking on a rat-contaminated wok without even so much as rinsing it with water!

Housewife: It's that simple Mr. President, all you do is seal the door, turn the dial and press start. The machine spins, washes, bleaches and rings the clothes in time it's revolutionary!

Dick: "Now how can I spin it so that those liberal pricks at the post don't accuse me of bleaching and ringing those commie dinks south of the border?"

My favorite pastime was putting butter in just about everything. It made everything taste oh so silky and smooth.

Also known as stiff, glossy peaks.

The next era of kitchens will be fashioned as mobile space capsules that transport modern families from planet earth to the galaxy and beyond. Honey, will the pasta take longer to cook al dente than our weekend trip to Mars?

And after an extensive tour of the museum, which also featured Building Collections: A recent Acquisition of Architecture; Standard Deviation: Types and Families in Contemporary Design; and Picasso's Guitars (among others), I went upstairs to Terrace 5 (of the Union Square Hospitality Group) for some snacks and a refreshment. I tried a pomegranate wheat beer from Utica, NY which I believe came from a microbrewery. It was very smooth and not the slightest bit hoppy, and the pomegranate flavour was subtle but discernible. Then came freshly baked flat bread with homemade ricotta and thyme, which had the perfect texture of creaminess to the crunch of the flat bread, accented by a sprinkling of flakey salt crystals and crunchy toasted sesame seeds.

Followed by an artichoke puree with a tarragon emulsion and some micro greens. The citrusy taste of the artichokes reminded me a little of the acidic after taste of a KFC mashed potato. I ate many a tubs growing up, but what distinguished it was clearly the natural acidity and mild sweetness of the artichokes, which one does not find in any type of potato. The KFC potatoes were probably spiked with more than a few chemicals compounds and artificial sweeteners to get kids like myself to want to have them with a bucket of Colonel Sander's classic fried wings and a corn on the cob with extra butter to slather over it, week after week after week for almost ten years. Kids, that's commonly known in modern day parlance as "an addiction."

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