TEST KITCHEN FOR CHANGE produces participatory bread-making events designed to encourage people to embrace slower processes in their lives.
In our ever-accelerating world, many feel that quality of live diminishes as we lacking time to savor things that are important. The question of my design research is not how this situation came about or how it affects us, but rather what can we do to introduce some of the slow and quality experiences back into our fast lives.
Of all things that become fast, food seems to me the most basic, most missed, and one of the most impactful. Almost weekly, we learn terrible news about toxic ingredients discovered in all sorts of processed foods, including school lunches, canned goods, and bread.
Bread is a staple food that unfortunately became unhealthy when it became mass-produced. Eating cheap, processed bread introduces extra sugar, salt, and additives into consumer’s body. Not mentioning, unknown health effects of genetically modified grains, bleached flours and commercial yeast products made at the factory.
The sourdough bread tastes better and is proven to be healthier because it does not need artificial preservatives, and extra salt. The reach taste of sourdough is acquired by a slower fermentation process and is hard to achieve at the huge bakery plant. So, how people can get bread of superior quality and taste? By supporting local artisanal bakers and growers we can create access to wholesome bread, but it may cost more in the beginning. I believe that as people demand better quality of food, we will all have more choices. But until we have a system of small local bakeries, bread-making at home can be an option. Naturally, a home baker can achieve a better control of bread’s ingredients, making the product more suitable for his/her family. However, there is a gap in the skills, knowledge and general stigma that home baking requires serious time commitment.
That is why I started to stage free public hands on bread making events.
Educational hands-on events are the central focus of Test Kitchen for Change — the project I am working on since February 2012.
I have staged dozens of bread making events in churches, galleries, communal gardens, corporate offices, people’s homes, and even at the juvenile detention facility.
Participants mentioned that most important part of it all was the actual touching of the dough; and the whole multisensory experience, immediately, they could understand how it should feel and behave.
Educational events are designed to demonstrate participants that healthy and delicious bread can be made at home with a little time commitment. The process of sourdough bread-making consists of small steps performed between the long stretches of time, which can allow someone to live a fast and busy life while engaging in slow food processes. As with many slow processes, the key to success is that the process itself needs to be enjoyable.
My project evolved with every event, making it suitable for a particular audience and location.