Tavolo per una

Letticia Cosbert Miller

“Tavolo per una,” was published in Active Cultures’ Digest, Issue 12, April 2022 (edited by Safia Siad).

Images: Photo courtesy of the artist.
Illustration by Carmine Scioscia.


Letticia Cosbert Miller
is a Toronto-based writer and curator. She is currently a PhD student in the Department of Classics at the University of Toronto.

Letticia’s work as a writer is often in dialogue with historical, mythological, or philosophical tropes from the western classical tradition. Her academic research interests lie within the reception of Classics in Black diasporic contemporary culture. Her writing and editorial work has appeared in the Toronto Star, BlackFlash Magazine, Canadian Art Magazine, MOMUS, as well as in publications by Aperture Foundation, the Aga Khan Museum, Gardiner Museum, Akimbo, and others.
Letticia is the author of Swimming Up a Dark Tunnel, a forthcoming monograph published by Gallery 44.

In the Before, I used to work from home every Monday and it was easily my favourite day of the week. I would have an extraordinarily productive morning, then break around noon to pick up groceries to last us the next several days. I’d lug everything back, wash my produce, add another stack of canned chickpeas to the cupboards, and get started on lunch. Lunch was the one meal I looked forward to every week, the only lunch that I did not have to reheat in the dreaded office microwave, whose damp contents I didn’t have to disappointedly dump onto a plate that I could never verify was clean, the one meal where I did not have to shrink lower in my chair after hearing, “What’s that smell?” as I forked a roasted brussel sprout.

In the After, I get to eat lunch at home every day, in addition to all other meals, but lunch still remains my favourite. I wasted no time adapting to the new schedule, and have been recklessly experimenting with lunch meals–sometimes even extending my lunch hour to bake a lunch dessert. Fueled by the sun and the nearer approaching Leo season, my powers are only growing. And by powers I mean my ability to get attention, to stir up drama, and do what the other girls can’t, even when it comes to lunch. The techniques are becoming more elaborate, the plating is nothing short of exquisite, and I am wondering every day how and if I’ll ever return to boring, pre-prepared, office lunches.

Purple cabbage, carrot, and kale salad with seared scallops and chimichurri dressing

Massage a bunch of kale with some lemon juice; add a handful of shredded purple cabbage and another half handful of shredded carrots; and toss to combine. Aggressively salt two or three scallops, then sear in olive oil (I use the oil from a batch of chile crisp I always keep on hand): 3 minutes on the first side, 1 minute or less on the other. In the meantime, prepare the chimichurri dressing by throwing handfuls of dill, parsley, cilantro, mint, a small shallot, olive oil, and red wine vinegar in a food processor, and season with salt and pepper. Blend. Plate the salad and scallops, drizzle with dressing, and there you have it: a Leo lunch!

Active Cultures is a cultural organization that explores the convergence of food and art in contemporary life.