Interview by Zofia Ciechowska, Photo by Carlijn Potma
Your new song, ‘Carnitas’, is it literally celebrating ‘little Spanish meats’ musically?
Ha-ha, that song was written by the two vegetarians of the band! A lot of the titles have lately become these inside jokes. Eric is married to a Spanish woman so ‘Carnitas’ is about her shame at dating a vegetarian and going to Spain and telling her parents the bad news. ‘Rodriguez’ is another one; he’s some kind of Spanish movie character. So when your wife goes away for a few days, you eat tons of crap, stay out late and drink loads of beer and watch TV, that’s called ‘Having a Rodriguez.’
So, tell me about your eating habits.
My wife and I always eat really simple stuff. The area we live in has a lot of Thai restaurants so we eat a load of rice and vegetables. It might not be the most exciting thing, but it’s our staple diet. We had a big chunk of time when the gas in our apartment was shut off so all we could cook on was a hot plate so we just ate a lot of stir fries and stuff like that. Picture my kitchen – there’s a small electric hot plate on top of the stove, a toaster and a microwave and one of those folding electric sandwich makers. We crack eggs in those and make scrambled eggs. That was a big staple of our diet for a while – fried-egg sandwiches on leftover wheat bread from the local coffee shop with cheese and avocados and some arugula. I guess it was kind of based on the time when Black Dice started touring around 1997, and we read an article about these dudes who wrote a cookbook about cooking stuff while you’re driving and you just wrap all the ingredients in tin foil, pack them in the car engine and they’re cooked when you get to your destination.
So for the stir fry we’ll cut up some green onions, onions, a couple types of Korean mushrooms, carrots, tofu. I don’t really like bean sprouts, so we don’t have those. We’ll add some peppers, a chilli paste. We put in whatever we have and make sure we use as few pots as possible. Add a bit of rice vinegar and make some peanut sauce with a bit of vinegar and peanut butter and oil mixed together. We have a big sack of Japanese sticky rice in the kitchen that we cook for this dish. Rice is just the best. Back in the day when I wasn’t eating enough because I couldn’t afford it financially I would want to eat a filling plate of rice instead of a ton of cheap crap. Rice also reminds me of this time back in high school when I made this paper pulp for sculptures and I had so much of it I just starting throwing it out of the window of the studio on the fourth floor. Most of it just splattered on the ground and made these paper pancakes that cooked in the sun but sometimes it would hit a moving car and you could totally hear the pulp crease the roof. I kind of imagine rice could be similar.
Bjorn Copeland’s Hot Plate Stir Fry:
– Sauté some garlic and onions in an oiled wok on a cheap hot plate, or a fancy gas stove if you’re feeling eccentric.
– Add some chopped-up tofu and fry until golden.
– Add three chopped green onions, two handfuls of mushrooms from your local Asian shop, a handful of chopped carrots and a handful of chopped peppers.
– Stir in some ready-made chilli paste and add a slug of rice vinegar, and some salt or some soy sauce to taste.
– Keep on cooking until the vegetables are coated in all the flavours, but don’t overcook them; a few minutes is all they need. Keep them crispy!
– Serve on a plate of steamed sticky rice and top it off with a peanut sauce. Make your peanut sauce by mixing a few spoonfuls of peanut butter with a dash of rice vinegar and a bit of oil. Do not throw out of the window.
Black Dice are playing at the OT301 the 3rd of October. The show is free for Subbacultcha! members.