Interview by L. Valena
So can you first just tell me what you responded to?
It was a small collage that had a girl holding her hands out, with some bushes that looked like herbs. Inside the bushes were a bunch of loaves of bread, just kind of chilling in the bushes, and then there were some four leaf flower things floating over her head and some other little flowers that kind of look like hibiscus.
What was your first reaction?
My first reaction was a little bit of an oh shit- I don't know what to do with this! I knew it had to be bread because there was bread in there and I really wasn't sure. I'm really not a huge bread baker- it’s not my niche. But there were bread loaves hanging out there in the bushes, so there had to be bread of some kind, I just wasn't sure how it was all going to get to come together. I opened it up and looked at it a couple times. Then I kind of forgot about it, but set an alarm on my phone to remind me when I had a week until the due date.
So you sort of looked at it, stepped away and then came back?
I looked at it a couple times, just cursory glances- probably on my phone, kind of thinking about it. It was obvious it was going to be bread. But I didn't know what I was going to do with that.
What did the piece make you think about?
The character in the middle of is clearly in a giving pose, an open-handed pose of sharing. I kind of felt like it was about sharing food, breaking bread sort of thing. There are flowers and herbs and I'm not entirely sure how that all came together.
Can you say more about your reaction to this piece and where it went from there?
Well the deadline gave me some urgency. I would open up the email every other day and think about it. Fortunately, this was all right after the holiday season and there had been a lot of posts online about star breads and I thought of the [flower] things floating over her head. Okay, I could do star breads shaped like that. Clearly there is going to be bread. Some kind of herbs. And the shape of those things floating over her head kind of came to me with the star bread that I'd been seeing. So I just took a recipe and modified the whole thing. I added whole wheat- I thought it needed some whole wheat for some reason. Then the rest of it was herbs so I picked some herbs. I couldn't tell exactly what kind of herbs they were, but there was some kind of flowering things in the bush that made me think of lavender plus the hibiscus above her head. I'd hoped that steeping the hibiscus in the milk would give more of a purple tint to the bread. It didn't, but that's where I was going with the things floating above her head.
How was this experience? How did you like doing this and how does it relate to other things you do in your day-to-day life?
In the end it was a lot of fun. When I do bake bread it's fun because it's a long process, and you can't do anything else- you don't have a lot of other distractions because you need to set aside a time to do that. I really put a lot into making those loaves look like the flowers floating above her head, and incorporating as many of the elements that I could into the loaf. It was tough because there were so many different elements and I wanted to be succinct with one item. I guess I could have done like a plate of food, but I wanted to get the whole thing into one item. So it was a lot of fun and I have to say I think these are the best loaves of bread I've ever made! I'll probably be making them again. They're not hard or just time consuming.
Do you have any advice for someone else taking on this challenge?
I guess it's not getting too overly literal about the thing. That's probably where some of my hang-up was when I first saw it. You want to do justice to the person who made the work ahead of you, but you also want to be true to yourself. Don't take what's given to you too literally- put your spin on it, and how it made you feel. For me this was all about herbs and flowers and sharing bread.
If these pictures are making you hungry (that's a completely natural response!), try out Kimi's recipe for Flower Bread yourself! Get it here. If you do make it, be sure to post on Instagram and tag @cookingwkimi
Call Number: Y4VA | Y5FD.ceFlo
Kimi Ceridon is a food-lover with a background in technology. She combines her talents to create great food experiences with a bit of science and engineering. She holds a Masters in Gastronomy and Chef's Certificate from Boston University as well as Masters in Mechanical Engineering from MIT. She left her cubicle to pursue a multi-faceted (read:confused and torturous) life as a writer, personal chef, culinary instructor, event planner and try-anythinger who loves to ride a motorcycle, get outdoors and urban homestead. Follow along with her blog about "Cooking & Confessions from a Midlife Crisis" at www.noreturnticket.kceridon.com