What’s Eating Amsterdam?

An expedition and convivial dinner on the invasive parasites of Amsterdam developed by Wietske Maas and Matteo Pasquinelli in cooperation with Sher Doruff, Rick Dolphijn and restaurant As cook Sander Overeinder.

An expedition and convivial dinner developed by Wietske Maas and Matteo Pasquinelli in cooperation with Sher Doruff, Rick Dolphijn, cook Sander Overeinder and diverse others with an interest in urban gastronomy. What’s Eating Amsterdam? took place at restaurant As, Amsterdam, as part of Society of Molecules project.

What’s eating Amsterdam? is an experimental convivium that turned ‘invasive’ yet mostly hidden meat and vegetation of Amsterdam into a shared hunting and cooking processes that brings to light the sporadic lifeworlds of the city’s migratory flora and fauna and maybe even raises a new politics of consumption.

The whole process explores and reaps the (in)visible crustacean and plant-life which can be found in Amsterdam’s dispersed yet intense ecological life-worlds — from the ever ‘invasive species’ of crayfish to anomalous shoots that thrive ‘out of control’ in the interstices of regulated urban space. Both the crustaceans and the plants were sourced from along the canalbelt banks or maritime transport routes such as the Rijnkanaal (Rijn canal) or the Noordzeekanaal (North Sea canal). A fisherman, a fresh water ecologist, an acquatic toxicologist and an urban phytosociologist who studies the relations between different urban-occurring species helped  suss-out the safety and edibility of the respective animal and plant species.

This all came together on May 11 2009, when a meal — from swamp bouillabaisse to hawthorn blossom brulée — was prepared and shared between everyone who was partaken in the crab and plant hunt and cook process. Yet aside from the flesh and green, it’s also the social, geographic and survival facts and anecdotes that are the vital ingredients shared in this city foraged meal.

This urban convivium ingests some of the aliments found along Amsterdam’s waterways and in doing so positively disturbs the regulation and urban stratifications of city life in Amsterdam.