How We Cook: Hannah and Nathan On Working Together In the Kitchen

How We Cook: Hannah and Nathan On Working Together In the Kitchen

Leela Cyd
May 28, 2014
(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

Who cooks and eats here: Hannah Vainstein and Nathan Hayden
Where: Santa Barbara, California
Rent or Own? Rent

After observing Hannah and Nathan in their kitchen on multiple occasions, the thing that always strikes me is how fluid and easy their collaboration is. These two artists work in multiple mediums and disciplines within their work, and often their practice overlaps. When cooking, they play to each other's strengths and gently nudge the process along.

As someone who can get a little control-hungry in the kitchen (it's my zone, what can I say?), it's a pleasure to watch a couple do the culinary dance so seamlessly and create such edible fun together. Here's Hannah's thoughtful meditation on working with her partner in the kitchen:

When Nathan and I met we had many things in common with our art practices. We both drew, made installations and used similar materials such as string. Our first date, when we were still friends, was to learn to spin together using some sheep's wool I had acquired and some spinning wheels Nathan had bought on eBay. We watched YouTube videos on spinning and gave it a go.

Throughout the years, we have learned together and supported each other. I have been Nathan's assistant through many an installation. During those times, I follow his instruction and attune myself to what he might need. In turn, Nathan has helped me with my many of The Lower Lodge pop-ups and events, packing/unpacking, lugging and setting up.

Similar to our art practices where we have many shared aesthetic sensibilities yet still make different, sometimes subtle decisions on spacing, line, width and form, in cooking we generally agree on what we want to make in regards to taste and texture. I want more of everything — salt, sugar, lemon juice — and Nathan has a more delicate palate.

I guess throughout the years we have come up with a series of checks and balances; each of us knows how to take the lead and how to follow. We have also learned each other's preferences and enjoy accommodating each other.

Isn't this a lovely meditation on working together? So insightful to see the art process translated into the realm of cooking and eating.

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