SURPRISE GROCERIES MEAL FOR 10
I decided to this project in and about Trader Joe’s. I go grocery shopping every Monday afternoon and always buy the same things, and so I cook the same things and eat the same things every week. Even when I’m purchasing groceries, my mind is somewhere else and I don’t care too much. I never have any fun interactions and my only dialogue involves thanking the employee and the cashier, and saying excuse me and sorry when someone is in the way or I am.
So, I wanted to take this space, that to most people is mundane and repetitive, and create something that is unpredictable, funny, stupid, just anything that would attract a response. I looked at early Dadaism and a lot of Fluxus art to come up with this my project. I liked the use of chance in the former and viewing daily consumptions as art in the latter. Based on these ideas, I decided to purchase every forty-third item at Trader Joe’s, intuitively cook these groceries and feed about ten of my friends at a dinner party. I also decided that I would ‘vlog’ all of this because I wanted to upload this onto YouTube, where it could be in conversation with other grocery haul and meal prep kind of vlogs.
In the actual performance I ran into many difficulties: the expense of so much food, cooking for the first time at such a large scale, cooking without any salt or spices, my friend cut his finger and had to be taken to the hospital, I cut my finger too and I got distracted leaving chocolate for too long in the microwave which filled my entire dorm’s floor with smoke. I gave myself around five hours to cook and still did not manage to cook everything, but I made just enough for the ten people coming and did not have any leftovers. When I was compiling and editing my footage, I made sure to have a final product that felt conversational and was similar in style and genre to other lifestyle vloggers. So, I added cheesy edits, music, and graphics.
My project allowed me to perform in a place that is dull and recurring and transform it into something exciting and expansive, going beyond the scope of an average grocery run. By putting it on YouTube, I wanted it to speak to other viewers interested in healthy grocery hauls or cooking tutorials and urge them to try my experiment too.