From Iceland — Kitchen Sessions

Kitchen Sessions

Published October 12, 2009

Kitchen Sessions

Established by Valgeir Sigurðsson in 2006, with luminaries Ben Frost and Nico Muhly, the Bedroom Community record label is currently busy preparing its cross Europe ‘Whale Watching Tour.’ In addition to the usual packing, practicing and organising, the ladies and gentlemen of the Bedroom Community are also cooking up a storm—and writing a book about it.
“We do recording at the Greenhouse studio. It is a bit out there, there are no restaurants close by, and we all enjoy cooking, sitting around and having dinner,” Valgeir explains. “The kitchen sometimes becomes the creative centre. Everyone throws in ideas; everyone has sometimes made a contribution to what is for dinner.”
The idea to record and collect these culinary jams in a tome is one the artists have played with for a while. “Maybe this is a start of our recipe collection, you know how each kitchen has the handwritten notebook with grandmother’s waffles with a secret ingredient that makes them special,” Valgeir tells me.
Almost ready to print, the book includes recipes by the record label artists, engineers and musicians as well as guest collaborators from over the years. Accompanied by comic illustrations by artist Sam Amidon, the label-mates also offer recommendations of their favourite places to eat, drink and hang out all over the world.
“Some of the recipes have an Icelandic theme to them, like the lamb, the whale and the puffin, but the book covers the whole spectrum of eating good food,” Valgeir says. “It has a bunch of influences, probably in a way that is like the music,” he says, “there’s a common ground there somewhere but no specific style, no one way of thinking”.
And who is the master of the kitchen in the Bedroom Community? “That is a constant battle,” Valgeir smiles.
The Whale Watching Tour 24.10-2.11; The Bedroom Community Cook Book available on tour and in concert, as sold by the members.
Sample Recipe
Una Sveinbjarnardóttir
Fennel Gratin from Cologne

Germans sure know how to use the veggies in their repertoire. This dish is a great example. I got it at a friend of a friend’s place in Cologne, during an Ensemble Modern session in the city, playing the music of Luigi Nono.
4 Fennel bulbs
2 Carrots
Spinach (if so desired, no neccessity)
Balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

The veggies are steamed for ca. 10 minutes, then cut in thick slices and put in an olive-oily roasting pan. Pour over the balsamic vinegar, don’t use too much, 2 ½ tbsp is a good ausgangspunkt. Grated cheese goes on top, my friend Valerij likes to add mozzarella to the parmigiano, that would be the pianist´s variation – it is quite good actually. Salt and pepper to your taste, and place for 15 minutes in the oven.
This is a great starter with ultra dry white wine or prosecco, it goes well with an Italian Gavi or a dry Riesling. The Fennel Gratin is also good as a side dish to a juicy steak or fatty fish.

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