Soupbone Collective

In Search of Lost Smell

Annie Wu
Resident, September-October 2021

“I tried to accommodate everything there that was somewhere between art and garbage…”
— Gerhard Richter

“I have used these things to say what is to me the wideness and wonder of the world as I live in it.”
— Georgia O’Keeffe

My name is Annie and very early in the pandemic I lost my sense of smell. I still have not recovered it, and who knows if and when I will, but I do know that what got me through that darkest of times was the furious, cathartic, meditative act of cooking.

When I first started cataloguing all my meals and cooking experiments, I had no grand plans. I didn’t even know if I would make it a couple of weeks. After all, to set out imagining an archive of 900 plus meals is quite daunting. But, here we are. And looking back, what got me here was trust in the process. I chose to focus on the act of gathering, collecting, gaping, wondering, sharing, and removing all judgment in favor of trying again and again, and then letting myself sit back and take a look once in a while. For this two-month residency with Soupbone, I hope to provide a space for you to join me in something rather small which has the potential to blossom into something momentous: stop by once in a while. Settle in and browse what is here, and leave me something too. See if it helps you return to the weird, wonderful world outside and experience it a little differently, perhaps with a little more intrigue and curiosity.

One of my favorite artists, Gerhard Richter, collected clippings, photos, and scraps for years, eventually compiling it into what he called an Atlas. When he started, he said he just wanted a space for everything “somewhere between art and garbage.” We don’t have to know how these things are working on us. And perhaps two months is too short to perceive our own expansion, but let’s just trust. I hope we will end this with an archive of our own.

🗂️ Archive 🥒 Pickle Party 🌸 Beauties 🥬 Veggie Spotlight 🔮 Misc.


Before we have our own archive, I’m sharing mine here to give those of you visiting my journey for the first time a little bit of context. I have an Instagram that I post on daily, as well as a Substack where I publish sporadic long form musings when the spirit strikes me.

Pickle Party

The first week of September, make yourself a jar of pickles. Post a lil progress pic here and then in 3-4 weeks, stop by again and tell us how it went! We can have a pickle party!

2 week-club:

Regular Schmegular Pickles or Fancy Pantsy Pickles

Your good old classic pickle, but also in a fancy version. The basis of any pickle is just something that you want as your primary body plus some sort of sugar or salt brine with vinegar—then add time! The classic pickle I make takes about 2 weeks. Basically you get a can you think is real cute, cut up something like purple cabbage or green beans or red radishes, throw it in the can, heat up some vinegar and add a teensy bit of sugar or salt depending on what taste you want plus any spices or garlic, and once dissolved pour it into the jar until topped off. That’s literally it.

Here’s a pic of a sweet and salty and garlicky red cabbage version.

Garlicky Red Cabbage pickles
Gochujang-Tamarind Pickled Pineapple

You can also get wild and exploratory. Why not make gochujang-tamarind pickled pineapple? The tenets of a pickle stay the same so just throw in tamarind, gochujang, sugar, salt, kimchi juice, paprika, pepper flakes, cinnamon—whatever! Then let it sit in the fridge!

3 week-club:

Pickled Salted Duck Eggs; aka: Porridge/Congee Friends

So if you don’t fear death and want to try something a little harder for your pickling adventure, go for a pickled egg! Basically you just mega salt water, boil it up until it’s dissolved, and then cool it and VERY CAREFULLY drop in RAW duck eggs. Make sure they are fully covered in the jar and seal. Leave it in the cabinet (not fridge) for 21 days. As you can sense, this not for the faint of heart, especially those of us that cannot smell (oof). When time is up, very carefully remove, boil, cut with shell on, and scoop out into your mouth or onto plain porridge! Amazing!

4-week club:

Preserved Lemons

Chopped up or blended into a paste, preserved lemons are the perfect addition to any sort of grilled situation or lentils or pasta. It just added that crazy salty kick. Basically, you just juice a bunch of lemons, salt the juice, cut open more lemons so that it’s splayed at the bottom, stuff it real good with loads of salt, drop them into a jar, top with the salty juice, and drop in some full peppercorns. Make sure you weigh it down with some sort of smaller jar or cap so all the lemons are submerged, seal, and then let it sit for a month!! Wow—time!!! Sometimes with these, you have to baby it a bit. It’s called “burping” where if it’s too pressurized, you should open the lid once in a while to let out air, but be carefully everything is super clean so you don’t breed anything yucky. There’s articles online!


Ever see a tomato that just frickin takes your breath away? Please share it here. Truly nothing would make me happier. I have a whole “Beauties” highlight on my Instagram, and I’m pulling some here to start the train.

Veggie Spotlight

Every once in a while, I’m going to spotlight a veggie and tell you how you can make the most of this particular veggie. If you happen to buy this veggie during these two months, let me know how it goes!

Spotlight #1: BEETS
A Soup Beet: Beet Poblano Gazpacho with Grilled Shrimp and Nasturtium
A Full Beet (Use the greens!!!): Charred Beets, Blood Orange, and Cherry Tomatoes with Balsamic Reduction on Blanched Beet Greens and Yogurt
A Grainy Beet: Spelt Stewed in Shiitake Broth and Za’atar with Diced Baby Beets, Shiitakes, Beet Greens, Olives, Cream, Cheese, and Garlic
A Carby Beet: Spicy Beet Risotto with Cheddar, Spinach, Garlic, Onions, and a Dollop of Sour cream
A Crispy Beet: Rosemary Oil and Balsamic Roasted Beet Slices with Ginger, Sage, and Honey on Yogurt
A Dessert Beet: Beet-Sugar Plum and Natural Red Wine Granita on Vanilla Yogurt with Fig Leaf Oil


Encounter something else that doesn’t quite fit above, but you just want to put into this space? Maybe it’s a quote that’s beautiful or something someone said to you that sparked a thought—I really do think our inspirations are connected, so someone else will appreciate it too. Leave a little gift!

Early in the COVID pandemic, I lost my sense of smell. It was shocking and thrust me, someone who was 100% not a foodie, onto the path of finding myself again in the kitchen. The daily exploration of flavors and sensations has led me to a keep up a highly active Instagram page, a newsletter where I reflect on some of the more surprising discoveries and thoughts during this wild time, and now this shared space for community.

Welcome, and thank you for joining in this lifelong process. I am excited to have the space with Soupbone for two months, and they asked me to share my favorite body of water: the stretch of the Pacific Ocean at the edge of Fort Funston, where dogs roam unleashed and dog lovers sit among succulents, feet in the sand, tides spraying faces, and mind opening up to the freedom that comes when we exist at the fringe.