Edible Art Sensorium Experiential Learning: East Meets West to Bring About the Best

Brought to you by The Urban Bento.

Before cleansing your soul with tea, a sweet treat is first consumed.

Japanese sweets made their mark during the Edo period (1603-1867). This coincided with Japan’s pro-longed period of prosperity. The use of wheat, soybeans, Azuki beans and rice were introduced by Chinese envoys. This was followed by Spanish and Portugese envoys who introduced the use of flour and refined sugars. With time, this culmination of creativity and culture transformed these sweet treats into what we now see and love today. It is almost impossible to list all the different types of traditional Japanese sweets. But regardless of type, the primary ingredient for traditional sweets was almost always bean paste, a soft chewy mocha (glutinous rice flour) with a sweet filling of beans or fruit. 

The elegance of serving the tea alongside the robust inner strength of the arms required for poise was essential in tea pouring. The creative and easygoing atmosphere left us with so much room to weave through possibilities of creating tender loving traditional shapes. We were also encouraged to explore our styles, a bonus. This was also an excellent opportunity to see Alexandra grow in her creative endeavours as she expands her portfolio with new projects and establishments coming soon. Alexandra Slater and Ruby Maher did an excellent job with this shoot and delivered. We also learnt the craft behind natural pigments: Spirulina (green), beetroot (magenta), blue pea (blue), pumpkin (yellow), saffron (yellow), jasmine cape seed (yellow). Presented in test-tubes and diluted to the tee for varying shades, the demonstration of pigments showcased the intricacy behind the thought and preparation. Hand-painted cookies a artwork in itself. Laughter shared with people from all walks of life, from different ages. Amongst us, mothers, students, colleagues and much more! Overall, the workshop held by the Urban Bento has breathed a new perspective into multicultural activities hosted by a modern business model, open to collaboration. An essential aspect of the passionate workforce here in WA.

Ponder of the week: Kneebone, R., Schlegel, C., & Spivey, A. (2018). Science in hand: how art and craft can boost reproducibility. Nature, 564(7735), 188–189. https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-018-07676-4

Shauna Goh