A while ago, I had to create a two-minute film explaining contemporaneity. Since my main research interest is the contemporary life of Portuguese heritage, I tried to do it through a story of the “codfish clothesline” (or “estendal do bairro”), the chef Ljubomir Stanišić’s dish I already mentioned here on the blog.
“Codfish clothesline” is an artwork – dish playfully addressing the Portuguese cultural identity, as seen through the eyes of a foreigner. But the chef has more intricate messages on the contemporaneity. I did some research and several keywords emerged: hungry planet, poverty vs. wealth, conflict vs. freedom. The FAO has recently announced that about 1/3 of all world food is wasted! That’s why I find the message on being rational and respectful towards food extremely important. Poverty and limitations sometimes inspire us to look at things/resources differently and be inventive. Aren’t inhabitants of Porto still nicknamed Tripeiros? The third message of the chef is about freedom, freedom to live his dreams. I noticed he declares as a Yugoslav, even though Yugoslavia fell apart decades ago. I guess it’s his way to cope and free himself of our silly divisions. And the road trip life with entire family he’s undertaking right now, it’s stepping way out of the comfort zone into more daring, more amazing adventures, and it deserves all admiration, I believe!
The film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xoMUbJsN3A&feature=youtube_gdata_player (music comes from certain Andrew Bell)
The road trip details: http://papakms.com/
It’s not merely a cookbook, it’s a “journey through Portuguese gastronomy”, as the author, chef Ljubomir Stanišić presents it. It was first published in 2011, following his success in MasterChef Portugal and in running a fancy restaurant in Lisbon. There is also a TV show based on the book; I have seen some episodes on the Travel Channel, but it’s the book I prefer.
How does a foreigner who loves and knows Portuguese culture and lifestyle see and interpret them in his domain? How does he link senses, heritage and geography of Portugal? Something to be investigated in my further work! The important thing is that we’re coming from the same cultural context …
Papa Quilometros was a present from a dear person, a serendipity that started an avalanche of ideas and actions bringing me … where? To be found out within some weeks.
Ljubomir Stanišić, the chef of Yugoslav origin and the owner of a restaurant in Lisbon, invented this dish in 1998, after he arrived to live and work in Portugal. The dish is a multiple-coded creative work, engaging senses and evoking associations: it is a reinterpretation of clotheslines seen in old Lisbon neighbourhoods, which also reflects his contemporary vision of the essence of Portuguese cuisine. A dish made of dried cod stomach brings about the memory of life in old times, when not everyone could afford best meat, and the remains (in this case tripes) had to be used among common people in most creative ways to make a quality meal.
According to the chef, the way the dish is served is meant to evocate Alvaro Siza’s canopy of the Portuguese Pavillion, which he saw at the Expo 98 upon arrival.