Revithia sto fourno oven chickpeas. Photo: Mina Stone

“It was a lifeline. It felt very important and special to have this project to work on.” –Mina Stone

Turns out, it was a lifeline for me too. I’m one of the producers behind Cooking with Artists, but I first came to the series as an eater.

A little background: Mina’s, our café at MoMA PS1, was only open for a few months before the pandemic shuttered restaurants and museums. In March of 2020, staff at PS1 came together with Mina to think about a collaboration around food. (I hadn’t yet joined the PS1 team. I was on my couch eating oatmeal, as you’ll learn.)

“I was aware that everyone was cooking a lot…. I thought, ‘Why is this happening? What are the reasons why people are doing this?’ And at first, I think it seems really obvious…. ‘Oh, because food is cozy and fun.’ But then, I think that’s what the interview series unearthed is that it’s actually a lot more nuanced and deep than I would have ever thought.”

In so many ways, Cooking with Artists captured a collective moment: Many of us were home. Slowing down. Turning inward. Experiencing the world through the grainy frame of Zoom. Mitigating anxiety with sourdough.

But not me. At least, not the sourdough. I was in a rut, refusing to do much beyond boil water and add instant oats. But something changed when I started watching Cooking with Artists.

Mina Stone

Mina Stone

I started thinking about the reasons why I cook, and why I come to the table with many different intentions.

Mina Stone

“I feel like the series was life-changing for me....I started thinking about the reasons why I cook, and why I come to the table with many different intentions.”

For me, the series suggested a potential for everyday rituals to hold a spark of mystery and aliveness. It brought into focus the vividness of cutting an apple or zesting a lemon. (So vivid, in fact, that I tragically over-seasoned Anicka Yi’s fantastic lemon pasta with parmesan, peas, and fresh herbs.)

It was a reminder of all the ways the mundane actions that drag our bodies through each day might also be woven through with artistry and care. Cooking, for one. Also braiding hair. Setting the table. Lighting a candle to mark the end of the week.

And, of course, the series was a reminder that artists are whole, fabulous, and vulnerable humans. They not only cook, but wash the dishes afterwards. They are deeply embedded in their communities, and often the most vocal in imagining and advocating for a better future.

Cooking with Artists was an opportunity to bring all the attentiveness and curiosity that we typically reserve for museums into the kitchen.

“Recently, I have been thinking about rituals and food in the present time.”

We’re closing out Cooking with Artists as we move into a new phase at MoMA PS1. But I don’t think it’s the end of our collaboration with Mina. It’s certainly not the end to our looking outside the museum walls at all the ways artists invent new methods of navigating, understanding, and imagining our world anew.

What does that look like now that many of us have one foot in Zoom, and the other tentatively outside? I don’t know! If you have ideas for the types of stories you’d like to see PS1 telling, write to me at [email protected]. In the meantime, explore a recipe that’s on heavy rotation in Mina Stone’s kitchen: oven-baked chickpeas. I think you’ll find it’s worthy of becoming a part of your everyday, too.

Mina Stone’s revithia sto fourno (oven chickpeas)

“This is the recipe I make the most in my house. It is our favorite comfort food. I started making this staple dish after sampling the traditional recipe made (for centuries) by the women of Prodromos—truly a religious experience. Although the chickpeas appeared simple, the preparation was meticulous, and the taste was exceptional. Soaking the chickpeas overnight and cooking them for hours are the keys to unlocking their complex flavor and creating a rich texture. The slower cooking process allows the oven to do the work, giving the chickpeas plenty of time to absorb the flavor of the onions, garlic, and bay leaves. Cook the chickpeas with just a drizzle of olive oil and then add a whole lot more when they come out of the oven. If you want to serve them PS1 Warm Up–style, chill the chickpeas overnight and toss with chopped fresh parsley and more olive oil when you are ready to serve. It’s the perfect dish for a hot summer evening.

This is a great main dish served with some olives, cheese, and bread.”

Serves eight to 10 people

1 pound (450 g) dried chickpeas, soaked and drained
2 medium yellow onions, sliced into quarters
6 to 8 whole garlic cloves (unpeeled)
4 bay leaves
Extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C).

Place the soaked chickpeas in an ovenproof casserole dish with a lid. Add fresh cold water to cover the chickpeas by one inch. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, a generous pinch of salt, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Bake for four hours, or until the chickpeas are very soft. Add the lemon juice and another drizzle of olive oil. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. Finish with fresh black pepper.

Finished chickpeas. Photo: Mina Stone

Finished chickpeas. Photo: Mina Stone