Written by Maddy Costa in conversation with and edited by Leo Kay and Anna Smith.
Leo: I was like, “Lunch, Anna?” She was like, “Yeah, we have a lot of lunch, it's big in our process.”
Anna: I don't necessarily think it's a title but it does happen a lot.
Maddy: It's true: food and what food makes space for –
Anna: – my argument was it's better if it's a little bit more intriguing: if lunch is the question and food is the answer.
Food is basically the answer to everything. Food nourishes not just individuals but communities. Only Wolves and Lions (2012), a key work for Unfinished Business, centres on the making and sharing of food. Any successful process Leo and Anna discuss includes, at some point, the mention of food. Working with the Decypher Collective, Leo remembers “trying to work out how to stop them drinking energy drinks before the sessions where they would then just bounce off the walls for two hours: I started to put fruit and nuts and granola bars in the space so they didn't have to break out and get sugar rushes”. Food is transformative in so many ways.
During the course of these conversations we ate carrot and celery with hummus and tzatziki; gozleme – floury Turkish flatbreads stuffed with spinach and soft cheese; avocados slick with olive oil and olives buzzing with salt and chilli flakes; kolokopittes – Cypriot pastries stuffed with pumpkin, bulgur, sultanas and spice; a soft and soothing vegetable curry; and of course cake: shop-bought lemon, home-made orange, nuggets of chocolate cake. We travelled the world on our plates and that encouraged our minds to travel, too.
Extract from a review of Only Wolves and Lions by Catherine Love, published by Exeunt, 28/8/13:
Together we concoct recipes, cook them and enjoy the resulting feast. Nothing particularly innovative, but the warmth generated by these collective activities is quietly extraordinary, reminding us that the sharing of food is as much about ritual and relationships as it is about nutrition. The experience also does something strange to time, which moves at a different pace to the relentless treadmill… outside. Moments stretch out, inviting the possibility that the time for these rituals is there if we only make it.