Magazine article American Theatre

Mero Cocinero Karimi's Lumpia Campesina

Magazine article American Theatre

Mero Cocinero Karimi's Lumpia Campesina

Article excerpt

"The fourth wall is broken right away, because everybody wants to eat what you're making," says Robert Karimi with a hearty laugh. He should know: As the fictional chef Mero Cocinero (Spanish for "neighborhood cook"), Karimi has been making edible theatre all over the country with his Cooking Show con Karimi y Comrades, a live kitchen throwdown with plenty of lefty politics tossed in the stew (his latest tour was titled War Causes Indigestion, and he's creating a new show about obesity in communities of color titled Diabetes of Democracy).

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

A San Francisco native, the Guatemalan/Persian-American Karimi marinated in Chicago improv and L.A. hip-hop poetry slams, but it's cooking that brings all his favorite ingredients to a boil. "When you cook, that is scripted improv: You have a recipe but it's never perfect-something always happens," Karimi says.

"And from that accident comes joy, comes revelation! That's why the show is a metaphor for so many things." Among his favorite dishes: the Working Class-a-dilla, which he created for a show in Green Bay, Wise; the LGBT(Q) Torta, a sandwich with lettuce, guacamole, beans, tomato and optional queso; and the one we selected for this issue, the Lumpia Campesina, a multiethnic version of a Filipino eggroll.

In solidarity with the farmworkers who bring the vegetables to our
table and the mothers who believe in diversity of the palate.

INGREDIENTS

1 red cubage
1 napa cabbage
1 pkg. bean sprouts
2-3 carrots
1 bell pepper
4 cloves of garlic
white onion
organic soy sauce
organic vegetable stock
safflower or canola oil
I pkg. … 
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