Doug Aitken and Levi's epic Station to Station train, currently travelling across America ceratinly has a lot of appeal. Not only bringing musicians and artists together, the journey also offers up a clever array of food. After two weeks of being tantalised by recipe posters, attendees at the Winslow, Arizona Happening finally got to taste Ed Ruscha’s Cactus Omelette. Prepared by Station to Station chef Leif Hedendal, the dish was served outdoors at sunset with the train in full view.
Dating back to the 16th century, the omelette has long been a staple snack in countries across the globe. Originally invented in France – Napoleon Bonaparte and his army once famously devoured a giant omelette, created with an entire villages worth of eggs – it spread as far as Japan, changing in shape, size, taste and texture on route. The traditional American omelette is usually jam packed with fillings, oozing melted cheese, salty onions and in the case of artist Ed Ruscha's slightly unconvential Southern-inspired version, cactus.
A strong presence in the art world since the late 50s, Ed Ruscha is heavily inspired by American culture, in particular his home surroundings of Southern California. Gas stations, diners and the Hollywood sign have all featured in his iconic work, which is often created with the intention of comedic undertones. Ruscha has also been known to experiment with food within his work, creating pieces using a wide assortment of eats, from bolognese sauce and cherry pie, to raw eggs and caviar.
Ed's cactus themed dish takes inspiration from its serving location, deep in the Arizona desert. Cacti don't usually conjure up images of a tasty dish (probably due to the spikes) but they are becoming more popular in everyday dishes such as pizza, pasta and chilli. Said to taste similar to okra they make for a much more interesting variation on the everyday meal.
2 tablespoons small curd cottage cheese
2 eggs from any farm
2 tablespoons diced celery
3 tablespoons diced cactus (Nopalitos)
1 tablespoon of sweet butter
1. Break eggs into bowl, slightly undermix with whisk or fork whilst browning butter butter in a pan.
2. Add eggs to the pan and let them sit there until the bottom begins to harden. Lift up the edges and allow the remaining mixture to seep under and set.
3. Add all the ingredients to the centre of the pancake in a line and fold the omelette to make a semi-circle.
4. Let the omelette set for 1 minute on a low heat, then roll out of the pan onto a plate.
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Text by Rhiannon Wastell and Laura Bradley