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Collective Piety

Collective Piety

By Joshua Lewin

Xenia is not our own story. My family never ate a lamb. Certainly not a whole one. My father took us to a pig roast once as kids…it was an exotic experience. A chili cook off was a more likely food adventure; I’ll never forget the tiny bag on the counter, tied with twine: “kick ass chili seasoning”. Exciting.

by Lucia Jazayeri

by Lucia Jazayeri

Xenia is a mythology. Like any real mythology, it belongs to everyone. A meal intended for gods. Anyone’s gods, although we obviously had the old Greek ones in mind when we first prepared it. Are my Greek gods any more deserving than your Roman ones? Is my father’s forever unmade chili any more or less indulgent than his reluctant pig roast in an amusement park parking lot? Are my mother’s springtime rituals any more pious (unlikely, but I honestly don’t know), than your grandmother’s?

Xenia: Feast Of The Gods was our first comprehensive menu production at Juliet, in 2017. The first to incorporate original artwork into the menu, the first to be “scripted” for the kitchen staff, the first to be booked via a prepaid ticket.

Xenia is a collection of Juliet firsts, and the memory it is based on is not even our own. So what? Maybe it is simply everyone’s.

This poem is rearranged from the first chapter of one of my favorite books, Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton. Hamilton runs a twenty year old, perfect restaurant in New York City; Prune. Go there. Eat the food. Buy the book. Without them both, I wouldn’t have Xenia.

I’ve buried myself in this poem. Katrina, also. Don’t worry about finding us and digging us out. Poke around a bit, and maybe you’ll find yourself, too.

we were five kids

Hissing all night

over an open fire

In an otherwise pitch-black meadow

hanging upside down

in mud suits

a pack--like wild dogs

tongues flopping out the sides

everyone is still, pretty much,

intact and wholesome

the rest of life will resume

the rest of us saw

not a regular yard

a wild castle

ruins of a nineteenth-century silk mill

here…see the lightning

wander around my own mind

my drifty imagination

ike a rowdy sheepdog twice my own weight

blood dripped down into the coals

hypnotic and rhythmic

Hiss

etched into our brains

clung to it for thirty years

mopped slowly, gently, thoughtfully

crushed rosemary and garlic, and big chunks of lemons

fresh peas in a bushel basket

sweet, starchy…in their own canoe

hoisted off the pit onto the shoulders of men

their song filled business

we sat up in our sleeping bags, reeking of smoke

politely kissed the older guests

wondering how late we would stay up

watching the scenery go up or come down

like grave markers

our mother was French

ruled the house

so slowly and patiently

ballet dancer friends with

long necks and erect posture

a photograph from a magazine

an oily wooden spoon

plywood-on-sawhorse tables

articulate the “s”

all that yet troubles us

glowing greenish discs

arcing through the jet black night

psychotropic reason

artful, freakish, habit

childish to admit to loving your siblings

dodging the oncoming headlights

back and forth between two states

the greatest show on earth

HIss. Hiss. Hiss.

These are a couple of the many recipes that are used to prepare a seemingly simple dish of wild mushrooms during the Xenia performance.

Oil cured shiitake mushroom

5lb shiitake mushroom

Water, for stock

Olive oil

Remove shiitake stems

Sear stems in canola oil

Add water to just cover

Bring to boil

Reduce to simmer

Simmer 25 mins

Pour stock over mushroom

add olive oil to cover

bring to simmer, but avoid boiling

cook until softened

approx 20 mins

Green Garlic Sauce

1 spanish onion, quartered

2 cups olive oil

mushroom stock (use from oil cured mushroom)

1 lb green garlic, green tops removed, pale green and white bottoms sliced thin

1 bunch parsley

Sachet (black pepper, thyme, coriander, bay)

Blanch green garlic tops and parsley in well salted water

Shock in ice water to stop the cooking

Meanwhile:

Cook onion and remaining garlic in stock with sachet until very soft

reserve all and chill completely

Puree blanched greens and cooked vegetable with stock (discard sachet)

oil to emulsify

Season to taste with salt and pepper

by Lucia Jazayeri

by Lucia Jazayeri

Katie's Corner: Do Not Eat

Katie's Corner: Do Not Eat

Inside an Airplane

Inside an Airplane