Agency experience without agency attitude.


My friend Penelope’s father, Gus Pawelka, came up with the word “plantasy,” a

Conflict Kitchen, Pittsburgh

combination of plant a seed and fantasy, to describe the act of creating an idea in one’s mind. These ideas never have to come to fruition; the joy is in the imagining.

Plantasy is a good description of the Tucson Food Truck Project; it’s about the fun of imagining the coolest possible food truck I could create. I asked Penelope her thoughts about what a food truck should have and she said, “stories.” Penelope Starr runs a non-profit called StoryArts Group, whose mission is to create, support, preserve, promote and celebrate the art of storytelling.

Food and stories can be combined in a number of ways. The food items served could each have a story attached to them that one could read while waiting or eating. A live person could tell the diner a story depending on what one orders. Or the customer could write/blog/record a story about his/her experience at the food cart.

Penelope also told me about a Pittsburgh take out restaurant she saw in the recent issue of Dwell magazine that only serves food from countries with which the U.S. has conflicts. I looked online and was so excited to learn about Conflict Kitchen. The countries rotate every four months; the first iteration is Kubideh Kitchen serving up Iranian kubideh. “Through food, wrappers, programming, and daily interactions with customers, Conflict Kitchen creates an ongoing platform for first-person discussion of international culture and politics. In addition, the project introduces a rotating venue for culinary and cultural diversity in Pittsburgh, as future iterations will focus on Afghanistan, North Korea, and Venezuela.”



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