Observations: A feast of food, art and storytelling in East London

Armed with a map and a brown paper bag of broken savoury biscuits, I, along with a group of other intrepid Londoners, set off to bring the city's past to life through food and art this week. This was Broken Biscuits, a brilliantly devised cultural/gastronomic tour in and around the streets of East London, curated by Isabel de Vasconcellos and the artist and concept chef Caroline Hobkinson for the charity Art against Knives.

The event took guests on an exploration of the history of London's most notorious slum, the Old Nichol Street Rookery. In the 1880s, the Old Nichol (which is now Arnold Circus) was a byword for squalor and crime, becoming a test case for Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx's theories of class struggle before it was demolished to create the Boundary Estate, the world's first social housing scheme.

So, off we went with our provisions (shops used to sell broken biscuits to children for a halfpenny) to find some art. A black-and-white projection of a boy on a wall showed a snapshot of daily life. There was also a sound installation from an escape route under The Boundary hotel by Nynke Gabeler, a film of a fried egg sizzling in a pan high up in a window on a street corner by Emilia Izquierdo, and Martin Sexton's Karl Marx ice sculpture at the heart of the Boundary Estate.

At our final destination, a feast at Rochelle Canteen, each course, from the watercress soup to the venison stew – chosen because the Duke of Bedford used to send two free deer to the Old Nichol mission each week – continued the area's tale. "I'm excited by the overlap between food and art and telling stories through food. It's not meant to be a chronological history lesson, but a cryptic experience," explained Hobkinson.

Caroline Hobkinson's next event is Blitzspirit (Stirringwithknives.com) 21-24 April

ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Guru Careers: Dining Room Head Chef

    £32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...

    Guru Careers: Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Chef

    £27K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Che...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever