A the unofficial hagiographer of NectarVillage and 3 time member of HBGB Kitchen crew I thought it was appropriate to write a short history of the HBGB Kitchen and the healing that goes on inside.
HBGB’s have always been early adopters when it comes to technology at the Burn. We were the first camp at BurningMan to employ an electric Ice Box as they were known at the Burn of 1934. The Ice Box allowed Scooter to serve the first helping of Boulder Ice Cream which was flown in by especially by Charles Lindbergh who was given the playa name ‘Lucky Lindy’ that year for his exploits at Jiffy Lube.
World War Two was a difficult time for everyone in a merciless war that set Burner against Burner, Brother against Brother. At the Burn of 1943 after serving a less than appetizing Vegan-style Shit on a Shingle the Kitchen Crew comprised of Swiss, Russian, Montenegrin and Spanish nationalists came to blows.
The 50s and early 60s saw HBGB Kitchen crew settle into a routine of domestic bliss. However it wouldn’t be until the Burn of 1984 that the Kitchen was moved inside a tent after longtime Kitchen Supremo ‘Mac Biotic’ got heat stroke.
The late 60s and early 70s saw a rise in the use of psychedelics at the Burn and the HBGB Kitchen. Syd Barret was kitchen lead at the notorious Burn of 1971 which saw a 90% of all meals served in the kitchen spiked with LSD.
The 90s saw rapid technological innovation and environmental awareness pervade the HeeBee Kitchen. Meal prep started to happen off the playa a couple days before the Burn in Reno. This lead to the short lived cable access show ‘Sid and Nancy Cook for the Playa.’
In the GoGo 00s mandatory uniforms during cooking were introduced in order that the cooks be a) More Easily Set on Fire b) Come into Compliance with Environmental Health and Safety Codes around hair getting into the food.
This brief history will end in 2009 when controversy struck the HBGB Kitchen after it was outsourced to Trader Joes in order to save money and in the words of one HBGB that wishes to remain anonymous – ‘TJs Salt and Pepper Potato Chips are the dammed best thing ever invented’.
However many HeeBee and Burner Purists rallied against the fake, industrial, clean feel of the kitchen. It’s rumored in 2011 HBGBs will return to Burner Cooks making wonderful meals of loving grace and bounty as has happened for so many years.