Main Project Plans and Inspirations

I believe it is difficult for most people to pinpoint one specific aesthetic, because most people are influenced by many styles. If I would have to choose one aesthetic in particular that has influenced me in the last couple of years it would be food culture. I admire the people that get invested into making a type of food or who are involved in the food industry in some way. Specific examples of this are small-scale farming, bread baking, and cheese making. This delineates from the style that I chose for my upcycle project, which was the artwork of Duane Flatmo. Although I find Flatmo’s artwork to be influential on my own artwork, I find myself to have a stronger connection to the food industry by way of my own research, personal projects, and activities I do with other people.

Image 1: Duane Flatmo, “The Delicatessen”

There are certain experiences that have led to my interest in food culture. From my sophomore to senior year I learned how to cook from different roommates. I found it interesting to learn parts of the process that made improvements to the taste and texture of the dish. Its an experience that taught me that continuous learning can open up many avenues of experiences, similar to studying and the engineering path. Trying a new recipe or restaurant can be a wild journey for the senses. Additionally, I like the physicality involved in cooking and making food.

Certain ideas have also increased my fascination with the industry. I like to learn how different foods are made and what it takes for a certain product to come together from its raw materials to final good. This I have learned much more about while reading On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee.

Image 2: Cover of On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee

The global food system involves all of us and I believe it is something that is worth knowing and teaching other people about. It is also interesting that cooking science can be broken up into elements of chemistry, physics, and microbiology.

This all brings me to the idea I have for the main project for this course. One food in particular that with controlling temperature, bacteria used, enzyme activity, moisture content, and salinity can lead to very different results. This item can embody normalcy as well as exoticism depending on the type. I am speaking about cheese. It’s awe inspiring how cheese can embody a wide variety of flavors depending on how the previously mentioned factors are controlled. With that all being said, my plan for the main project is to make a cheese press with a pressure gauge that will give accurate readings to make different cheeses from semi-hard to hard based on accurate pressure readings. An example of a semi-hard cheese is Camembert, while an example of a hard cheese is Gruyere.

This cheese press will be made out of wood and metal, while I will either buy a pressure gauge or make my own with a pressure sensor and an Arduino depending on the cost and time commitment for each. Pictured below is an example of a cheese press. The Water bag is used to vary the weight that will alter the pressure pushing down on the cheese.

Image 3: Home Cheese Press



Duane Flatmo’s Instagram showing picture used for Image 1.

On Food and Cooking on Amazon.

Source of Cheese Press Image.

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Sophia Montie
    March 1, 2024 12:36 pm

    This is an interesting idea! I like how you are taking your love for cooking and using that with your project, should give it a great personal element. I am wondering if there is a way you can mess with the design/style of the cheese press itself to match the aesthetic of your kitchen (ie. rustic, stainless steel like cuisinart, 50s home)

    • Ben Clairday
      March 6, 2024 11:19 am

      Hey Sophia! That is a great idea, I think having a rustic and stainless steel version would be awesome. I am planning on using these ideas for my next post. Thank you!


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