Aleksandra Mir

Arts Review: Aleksandra Mir

By Scotsman
Scotland on Sunday, Edinburgh, August 2009

The How Not To Cookbook
6 Aug 2009
Collective gallery, Edinburgh

...Across the road, the Collective is busy telling us all how not to cook. This book project by Aleksandra Mir is a sign of Collective director Kate Gray's big ambitions and bustling confidence. Mir is a big name on the international merry-go-round and the chutzpah of How Not To Cook is admirable. Entering the gallery, all you find is a slightly lopsided library (deliberately designed by architect Ewan Imrie) each shelf containing dozens of copies of Mir's publication, the How Not To Cookbook.

Do spend your time reading them. One thousand cooks around the world share their disasters, both helpful and simply outrageous, and all presented in best Nigella style: "Do not fry chips when wearing shorts" or "When you are icing a cake around other people do not lick the spatula before you have finished. Someone will see you."

While the book is an elaborate metaphor for the building and sharing of collective knowledge it is also much, much funnier than the thousands of comic books that will shortly hit the shelves for Christmas. Where else might you find the protocol for gay barbecues, learn the necessity of avoiding washing up liquid in the salad dressing or find such helpful cooking topics as Splatters, Stocks, Dating, Drugs and Defrosting. Across the city, it's time to listen to the word on the street.