For many people, FoAM equals food. Food gathering as performance art, preparation as design-science, consumption as a social celebration and distribution as participatory economics. Beside being self-taught cooks and foodies, we are authentic 'food geeks'. With our keen interest in culinology (or the 'science of deliciousness'), as well as the social and economic aspects of food, we work to demystify the processes of food and food systems.
Food grows from our relationship with the environment and it should be cherished and respected as such. Living in urban surroundings, many people have forgotten that our roofs, walls and basements can become edible landscapes. Beside re-learning how to grow our own food in permaculture gardens of varying scales, we're also looking at the possibilities for wild-food gathering, alternative trading routes, nomadic kitchens, as well as designing no-waste cycles of food preparation, consumption, digestion and excretion. Having a deeper understanding of the substances and processes that make up our diets will become an essential skill in the increasingly turbulent environments. On the one hand, we can have a better grasp on traditions, in order to keep them alive. On the other hand, we will be able to more easily adapt to new diets, or even invent new cuisines, based on the availability of energy and ingredients.
Looking at it from a social perspective, food isn’t just a biological fuel, it's also a communal lubricant, one of the oldest cultural products, a symbol of hospitality and bonding. Shared food rituals (from simple lunches to festive banquets) can bond a diverse group of people together better than most verbal or visual communication. Eating a wholesome meal together is associated with physical, but also psychological pleasure, abundance or even play. The entire process of turning growing things into mouth-watering dishes can be filled with excitement. At FoAM, we incorporate food into everything we do: from transdisciplinary team-building, to thematic food events and weekly meetings. We start in the wild, move onto farmers' markets, build relationships with co-ops around the world, or 'fabricate our own' in kitchen-style chemistry labs. We then proceed with meticulous food experiments; whether working with the forgotten tastes of wild plants, exploring ‘time-based’ textures, pairing flavours based on their chemical constituents, or mixing food and digital media. We look for dishes that can nourish people's souls, as well as their senses.
As the gastronome Brilliat-Savarin noted three centuries ago, “the discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a new star”.