Photo essay: Edible learning at the Berkeley Art Museum

Guests at the OPENeducation event at BAM have a vantage point over the proceedings. Photos: Tracey Taylor
Eating a shoe (center): flashback to 1980 when Alice Waters cooked one of filmmaker's Werner Herzog's shoes -- and he ate it -- in Berkeley

On Saturday, the grounds of the Berkeley Art Museum were transformed into an open campus and living kitchen as myriad food makers and food-related initiatives were displayed to the public — or at least those who had reserved (free) reservations for the event.

OPENEducation was held to commemorate the 40th birthday of Chez Panisse restaurant (wasn’t everything this weekend?). Hundreds of visitors strolled the museum’s gardens and terraces, sipping watermelon agua frescas, tasting fresh-made vegetable tacos while learning about bee-keeping, how to milk a goat or the business of single-origin coffees.

And because the goal was partly to trace the genealogy of Chez Panisse and its influences, which includes the free speech movement, a denuded police car served both as a soap-box for announcements and a canvas for chalk-graffiti artists.

Most bizarre by far was the public consumption of a shoe as a cheerful group of friends sat at a table and tucked into a shoe, made, apparently from pork skin. This strange display was a salute to a bet, made 30-odd years ago, by filmmaker Werner Herzog and Errol Morris that Morris would never finish his first movie. Werzog promised to eat his shoe if he lost. For the première of Gates of Heaven in 1980, Alice Waters cooked Herzog’s shoe with garlic, herbs, and duck fat for five hours. Herzog ate his shoe in front of an audience at the UC Theater, an event documented by Les Blank in the documentary Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe.


Two kids -- five- and six-weeks old (center) -- were a big hit. They came courtesy of Jeannie McKenzie who raises goats in Oakland
The "free speech" police car: a nod to the 1964 moment when Mario Savio stood on top of a police car in Sproul Plaza
Custom-made fruit drinks, using watermelons and limes among others, were on offer
A young guest discovers old technology next to some of the "Alphabet Soup" letters that were on hand to play with
Chapati making with the bicycle-powered wheat grinder and the Edible Schoolyard
Dilsa Lugo, a La Cocina alum, prepares tortillas at the BAM event
Jeremy Tooker from Four Barrel Coffee offers talks about the Ojer Caibal School Kitchen Project
Coffee plants and drip coffee courtesy of San Francisco's Four Barrel Coffee
Moe's Books offered a library of food-related books to peruse, as well as a copy machine, and the chance to make your own 'zine