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Features / October 20, 2015

Eating and Words and Simmer and Thoughts: An Artist’s Recipe

Vancouver artist Derya Akay, whose work often involves food, experiments with a new recipe in this artist piece.

Vancouver-based artist Derya Akay has worked in ceramics, performance, poetry and food. Here, he presents the first in a series of recipes he calls, in a nod to Gertrude Stein, Eating and Words and Simmer and Thoughts. Yes, you can try this at home.

dessert first, we eat sweet we talk sweet

dried up grape

not for long but

now plump and sweet



    dehydrated, shrivelled up fruit always look

    the same each piece in your palm.

Derya Akay

  but look at a boiled pot of raisins, where

  the raisins come back to life as little grapes, some bigger than others they

talk to each other

to joys of a boiled grape.


hoşaf  (raisin compote)

    a glass of raisins

    five glasses of water

    sweetener of choice to taste (i used honey)

    cloves? cinnamon stick? spice it up.

    soak the raisins for an hour, then rinse them, add the water in the pot, bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes, then chill & serve

    let the cold sweetness of these grapes remind you how short your life is

    eşek hoşaftan ne anlar?

    what does a donkey understand from a compote

Derya Akay

cauliflower leaves: i’ve been eating them breakfast, lunch & dinner. i love them! so much more tender than kale, and this mild flavour of roasted cauliflower in the leaves that raw cauliflower head lacks… the plant is hard to grow, but it never lacks leaves. we got the first cauliflower head this year from the garden but it looked more like a succulent flower than an edible garden… kinda sad, but we ate it.

seared it with olive oil, covered. scorched on one side, steamed on the other (the cauli, not the leaves).

ate the leaves raw. i also blanched the leaves and put them in with yogurt.

***2 out of 4 people that consumed the leaves (on different nights) had indigestion, like severe indigestion i guess? so maybe it doesn’t sit well with everyone. works fine for me. i love it… gonna keep eating it.

Derya Akay


a salesperson at a turkish vegetable bazaar told me the way his mother cooks borage is she blanch the leaves and stems first, then sauteés with onions and ground meat, feta. she then cracks in two eggs per person.

& drinks the blanche water as tea

Derya Akay


pick the weeds from your garden, the cracks of streets, your neighbours yard trimmings

wash, clean

  mix with yogurt

    olive oil

      half a clove minced garlic, salt.

Derya Akay

main course:

i thought it would be more poetic to link the ceramics studio with the kitchen.

so i took some photos, did some recipe digging

in the end a yogurt base, with meatballs on top (maybe called aleppo meatballs/kebab with cacık)

i used:

thin bulgur (1 glass ?)

flour (1 heap table spoon)

four time ground lean lamb (ask butcher to grind meat 4x, if butcher is incapable, leave butcher for another) (300 grams?)

minced/grated onion (actually i forgot this part)

use your fingers, dampened with water,

mini balls, preferably with friends or family.

Derya Akay

then poach them in water with half a lemon juice

    then brown with some olive oil in pan after poaching.

in the meantime drain your yogurt in cheese cloth for a few hours.

mix the pressed yogurt with

blanched spinach or chard

or cauliflower

or the best, (recipe upstairs ^) purslane, the weed you should all be eating.

Derya Akay

Derya Akay

and drink the drip down whey

my meal was a 4 out of 10 (i used way too much bulgur)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

research for next time

Derya Akay

Offal (link:

Medieval Arab Cookery (link:

Forward and table of contents PDF (link: