A multi-course meal made without a drop of fresh water? Yes, it's possible
Allison Foat attends a designer dinner with a difference in Cape Town
As Day Zero edges closer and the prospect of a Peninsula without fresh water becomes a reality, Capetonians are shifting into survival mode and devising contingencies to meet the predicament head-on, some more innovatively than others.
Food designer Hannerie Visser, founder of the Cape Town-based multi-disciplinary collective known as Studio H, is fuelled by an ongoing obsession to produce solutions for a water-scarce world. She is on a mission to counter the crisis and her novel five-course waterless dinners are demonstrating that life without water in a tap-dry kitchen can go on.Subliminal water-wise messaging was at play the night I attended my first waterless dinner, prepared from start to finish without one drop being used in the prep or clean-up.
The event was hosted in a beautiful Victorian building, strategically situated on Church Square, where an urban pop-up park, laid with astro turf, alerts locals and tourists to the dire shortage of water.
Provision was made for 50 people to attend over both evenings, a reminder of the daily 50 litre-a-head restrictions.There was salt everywhere, in decorative mounds on the floor and spread thickly down the centre of the 10m-long dining table. Some dishes, like the goat cheese-filled cabbage cigars, were served on small round salt plates that had been made in a microwave using a recipe developed in Milan by culinary creative consultants TourDeFork.The versatile egg yolks were used to thicken a delicious red cabbage gazpacho starter and various sauces. For vegans, there were tasty options throughout, like the baked caramelised onion and Foxenberg chevre.
My best, being a dessert girl, were the sweet carrot loops and the creamiest of ice creams, made from camel milk sourced in Upington, blended with fresh strawberries and presented in an edible isomalt cup.Caitlin Hill from The Botanist concocted stiff gin cocktails infused with flavours like wild mint and rosemary, and agar foam. Beer lovers sipped Zebonkey's Poseidon, brewed using up to 15% sea water and packaged in reusable glass swing top bottles.
Teetotallers enjoyed pure carrot juice, and all refreshments were chilled using frozen pebbles.
"Food is the most powerful tool I have to bring home important messages and responses to issues like the water crisis," says Visser. "It's what I know and what I love."..