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Ears of earth

Ears of earth

A celebration of WaterSchool

Last december we celebrated the Dutch Design Award category Design research for WaterSchool and Studio Makkink & Bey’s 20th anniversary. We invited Suzanne Bernhardt and Philipp Kolmann to share their project ‘Ears of Earth’ with us.

In 8 courses and in a special setting in the WaterSchool they took us along to the flavours of the earth. With ancient grasses and traditional fermentation techniques from different parts of the world we went back to the basics of our food. A beautiful afternoon with friends and clients, sharing ideas, and closing the year together.

Ears of earth

Ears of earth is an embodied research setting around the culture of domesticated sweetgrasses and our coevolution with microbes. As one of the earliest settlement foods, sweetgrasses allowed humans to root in place and accumulate stock. Today, the world’s most widely-grown crops are still harvested for grains. The microbiome around these plants has given rise to leavened bread, as well as to bubbles in beers and brews.

Philipp and Suzanne investigated how the local landscape can be a site of encounter and exchange where food is a tool to make the interdependencies between land, growers, and consumers both visible and tasteable. They worked together with a team of ceramicists, builders and farmers to honor the symbiotic relations between plant, soil and people.

Returning to our senses

For their vegan menu they collected grains, beans and grasses both wild picked and organically grown following the seasons. With the menu they highlighted the expansive range of flavors and textures originating from the same source. While investigating food cultures that spread from the Alps to Mexico and Asia they gathered ingredients, microbe cultures and techniques that have inspired and fed their practice over the last years. Reinventing traditional processes from far and close, paired with local seasonal ingredients and exposing their transformations, proposing new rituals that connect us back to our roots.

Philipp Kolmann
Suzanne Bernhardt

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