fOOd iS LIfe. AnD dRAma tOO.

Introducing our new monthly food columnist Iona Judd

Words by Iona Judd

For those that know me, they know I’m obsessed with food.

By 7.46AM on a Tuesday I’ve sent my boyfriend a couple of posts from my favourite chefs, added a few new restaurants to my list (an incredibly long and detailed list divided into countries and cities which I keep on my phone) and decided on a prospective menu for the upcoming weekend. I may - or may not - have messaged my sister asking for an ice cream recipe. A few years ago, I was a founding member of a secret cheese society (it’s other members still remain anonymous to this day) and over lockdown I started a finsta called I’m Bringing Sexy Snack, sung, of course, to the theme of Justin Timberlake's iconic hit.

You get the picture.

My love of food comes from my family. Both my grandmothers were wonderful cooks, and of puddings in particular. I remember being transfixed by the theatre of one coring a mountain of apples, hands gnarled by arthritis, methodically placing each into boiling caramel. Suddenly, the pan upturned to reveal a majestic tarte tatin with the apples perfectly arranged in a concentric circle - it was magic. I was always struck by the love that went into the tarte’s creation, and every time she made it, it never failed to elicit the same reaction. When I first attempted to make this by myself a few years ago, it was more of a tragicomedy as I burnt through 2KG of sugar. A failed attempt, a tarte not-tartin.

mY LOVe Of FOOd cOmES fROM My fAMILy. BOtH mY gRAnDmOTHeRS wERe wOnDeRfUL cOOkS, aND Of pUDDiNgS iN pARTicULaR.

The kitchen, in my view, is the ultimate arena of life in many ways. Synonymous with every culture, religion and family, food has the extraordinary ability to unite, to capture a shared moment in time and embody an emotion. The kitchen often acts as a silent audience, providing the space for many scenarios to play out – the family argument, the toddler’s birthday party, the anxious ‘I’ll cook you dinner’ third date. These riotous scenes are cut with stiller moments also. Of quietly reading the paper at breakfast, of dogs or cats snoozing in the corner, occasionally snuffling around for a delicious treat that might not have made it onto a plate, or simply sitting – safe in one's culinary sanctuary.

THe kITcHEn, iN mY ViEw, Is tHE ULTimATE aREnA Of LIfe In MANy wAYs.

The role of the kitchen and the rituals and traditions of food prepared within it also have a tightly bound relationship with arts and culture. From the Dutch masters' hyperreal arrangements of glistening oysters and perfectly peeled lemons to Salvador Dali’s completely insane banquets, food is a motif that’s explored time and time again.

For Pedro Almodóvar (who acts as the inspiration and foundation for KOIBIRD’s new season), it’s a key communication tool often used to represent the angst of the female leads, and the kitchen itself becomes a world in which women rule. Objects that were once used to perform an action of love are transformed: knives become murder weapons and ingredients become symbols of hurt and pain. The most brilliant subversion is the giant jamón in What Have I Done To Deserve This? which becomes the embodiment of resistance against the patriarchy as it's used to knock Antonio out. I always knew it was my favourite form of Tapas for a reason.

THe ROLe Of tHe kITcHEn aND THe RiTUaLs AnD TRaDItiOnS Of FOOd pREPaReD wITHiN iT aLsO HaVe A TIgHTLy BOUnD ReLaTIONsHiP wiTH aRTs AnD cULTURe.

These iconic moments, littered through Almodóvar’s films, along with his use of the colour red (often brought in via the world of the kitchen), have inspired the menu for my first dinner for KOIBIRD – and my first monthly column – which coincidentally falls on International Women’s day. A day for celebrating strength, love - and each other.

As I finish writing this, I’m reminded of my favourite film scene from Big Night in which brothers Primo and Secondo prepare a mythical Il Timpano for their rival. With much trepidation they embark on this fabled culinary challenge, only to serve it and be met with a scream of “This is so f***ing good, I should kill you”, as pascal throws his fork down in defeat. You can’t ask for a more theatrical, and perfect, reaction than that.

Who knows, maybe one day I’ll attempt Il Timpano – at least it won’t require 2KG of sugar – but for now, I’m off to find some Kumquats. My ice cream machine calls…

Shopping Bag

We ship worldwide. Free express delivery on all UK orders over ${currency_symbol_input}${cart_note_currency_value}.

close Created with Sketch.
Group 10 Created with Sketch.

YOUR CART IS CURRENTLY EMPTY.
BAD TIMES.

Subtotal
£0

Shipping calculated at checkout.