Liz Wendelbo and Sean McBride of Xeno and Oaklander are always in pursuit of unique multi-sensory moments of culinary pleasure. Their stories include eating pinches of spicy homemade paprika powder made by a boilersuit-clad Hungarian woman, drinking strong slivovica in a Prague flat, reading Cyrillic menus in a Boston steakhouse transplanted to Moscow, playing in a former chocolate factory and making recipes from Liz’s futurist cookbook. It is the band’s love of conviviality, travel and espionage that shines through on their new album, Par Avion.
by Zofia Ciechowska, image by Carlijn Potma
Sean: ‘I recently discovered the joys of foods that have a disparate taste but have similar textures. I’ve been making really simple salads out of turnip, radish and apple. I chop them up so they all look the same, but when you taste them you are surprised by the sweetness of the apple, the sharp radish and the mild flavour of the turnip. All they need is a drop of oil and a squeeze of lemon.’
Liz: ‘I don’t actually cook that much. Kitchens in New York are tiny and people tend to go out to eat. It’s quite Kafkaesque in that way; everything is a cockroach. For me, cooking is more of a fantasy thing, I have lots of dream recipes. In the past I have cooked with perfume, for me it’s all about scent and its multi-sensory experience. I’ve had magical eating experiences that have made me fall off my chair and forget who I am. I can imagine myself making a salad out of flowers.’
Liz and Sean’s Textured Salad
1 apple, chopped into thin strips
1 turnip, chopped into thin strips
1 radish, chopped into thin strips
a few splashes of balsamic vinegar
a dash of olive oil
2 handfuls watercress
2 squeezes of lemon
a small handful of violet flowers
salt and pepper
How to make Liz and Sean’s textured salad
• Put the apple, turnip and radish in a small bowl and splash with balsamic vinegar. Set aside for 10 minutes, then drain the vinegar.
• Make a bed of watercress in a nice serving bowl. Place the apple, turnip and radish on top. Drizzle olive oil and a lemon squeeze. Decorate with violet flowers. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Xeno & Oaklander play on 29 October at Melkweg in Amsterdam. The show is free for Subbacultcha! members.