Food, culture and the environment – the three pillars of this book – have an intricate relationship that extends back to the origin of humans as a social species. To survive, we eat; to eat, we feed the environment that feeds us – food is a product of the reciprocal connection to our ecological habitats. Food however is so much more than just a biological fuel. As a communal lubricant, food is one of the oldest cultural products, a symbol of hospitality and sharing. Over the entire planet, food rituals bring people together in gracious dances of giving and accepting, from simple family meals to festive banquets, from streetwise Gol Gappa balls to homemade wortelstoemp.
This book is designed as a collection of the “toasts” and their accompanying recipes from the Open Sauces dinner. It is a scrapbook – a “commonplace book” in the parlance of earlier centuries – and a book of commons. Commons, a term denoting shared public resources, can be traced back to the sharing of provisions, of rationing limited amounts of foodstuffs to feed a whole community. Similarly, Open Sauces offers bite sized morsels of diverse aspects of contemporary food culture – whether curious information, case studies, or specific techniques – to feed a diverse group of readers. The book also contains the recipes for the complete, seasonal Open Sauces menu.