The Lonely Aubergine - Nutmeg Brain
Therapeutic community gardens in London and Barcelona
Intaglio, Relief with fields of colour by rollers
Lonely Aubergine Cookbook started with a conversation with Dr Jane Myat at the Caversham GP Surgery and Garden Listening Space around the link between poor health and loneliness. One patient, living alone, had lost the knack for cooking and the passion for eating. She was that told the garden group wanted to reawaken the lust for food. The SEED project—a patient gardening and art group at the neighbouring James Wigg Practice—carried on the dialogue about food and eating, sharing recipes, growing vegetables, herbs and making prints. From these conversations, The Lonely Aubergine Cookbook was born.
Everyone has a food story; some good, some sad- stories of absence, of longing, of distance, of anticipation. Patients, doctors, and staff at the NHS came together, with contributors from Norway to India, each eager to share a story, each keen to help shape The Lonely Aubergine.
Halfway through the project, a chef with a Michelin star joined the team of designers, printmakers, publishers, editors, cooks, and caregivers, telling together the story of food and feeding.
In the three years this book has taken, stories have flooded in, recipes have been tried and tested, pages have been illustrated with prints and photographs by the SEED group and the homeless from St Martins-in-the-Fields. The Midnight Kitchen, a virtual platform for cooking and eating together with recipes from the Lonely Aubergine during COVID19 is being built by a collective of health professionals, visual and culinary artists, academics, craftspeople, writers, farmers and food producers who have an interest in the transformative power of journeying through food and story-making. Our work variously connects us with our local community drawn from a diverse range of backgrounds including many people who are vulnerable and isolated and who are supported by few other services.