Sunday, 22 September 2013

Food for thoughts

Food of the Future - simple dinner with inverted colours
I’ve just put fall style muffins with pear, banana and dried fruits in the oven. Sounds sophisticated but in reality it is simple to make them. I took flour, sugar, eggs, oil, a bit of sugar and pinch of salt and mixed everything together. At the end I added “the additions” – some goodies I had in the cupboard and fridge which seemed to make sense together. I love part of the BBC basic muffins recipe I use which says “add any extra ingredients now”. It means whatever you like; whatever is in your cupboard, whatever seems edible, whatever...This is where the fun part begins. Many recipes sounds like that – add a bit of this and a bit of that and mix it altogether. Some needs more patience, more work, more muscles but all of them start from scratches. Single ingredients don’t mean anything on their own. Some have no flavour or even shape but once you mix them they become different beings: sauces, cakes, breads etc. Something tasteful comes out nothing. Isn’t food creative? Doesn’t it bring out the best parts of our creativity? Doesn’t it release the energy?

I am especially amazed at the physics of bread – it is flour, water, salt and yeast what make such a nourishing and wonderful beginning of perfect breakfast. Elena Mora, an Italian stylist and set designer, has appreciated the value of ingredients in her project “Ricettario. A balanced diet”. She used ingredients representing different dishes to create artistic composition. Picture taken by photographer Karsten Wegener can be viewed on her website and here are some examples.

Pizza margherita; Styling: Elena Mora
Photographer: Karsten Wegener

Salmon; Styling: Elena Mora
Photographer: Karsten Wegener

She shows unusual approach to food – not as a dish but as single things creating something different. In her project food is art and it reminds me about Dutch still life paintings back from 16th and 17th centuries, though of course style is different. Food has been inspiring people for ages.

Pieter Claesz (1597/1598-1660) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

And there is much more to do with it, because food is an amazing material to experiment with. It is so liberal and democratic. Just have a look at the website of The Experimental Food Society, founded in 2010 by Alex Perrin. You can find “jellymongers, sonic food artists, cake sculptors, gastronomic tailors, culinary cabaret troupes and one-of-a-kind dining conceptualists” among its members. Isn’t it amazing what people can and want to do with a food? Just today I came across a website of Alexandre Dubosc, creative director experimenting with food. His latest creation “The Caketrope of Burton’s Team” also start with ingredients which create a monstrous cake.

Another video “Food about You” shows imaginary process of cake production.

Everyone can make something with food – you don’t always need sophisticated ingredients or machinery. Sometime knife and a fruit or two is enough to make an awesome composition. I can see examples of such activities every day on Creative Ideas. You can experiment at home, outside during the BBQ season or go for cooking course while exploring new countries and their culinary history. There is always a story behind the food. You can see it on the example of vintage menus featured at Cool Culinaria. One look at some of them and you travel back to the time they were created. To celebrate food.

I cook to make every day different. It wouldn’t be true if I say that I and my husband never eat the same would but I am trying to cook something new almost every day. These may not be spectacular dishes but something usual or simple with little change every time. This is why, when I was recently asked when I cooked a new dish I said the day before. And I saw a surprise in the eyes of the person who asked when I said it was a vegetable soup from Green Kitchen Stories – but it was a soup I have never cooked before. It was a new dish. It added necessary flavour to our day, a sense of discovery and exploration. We’ve shared an experience with those who created the recipe and moved forward in our every day culinary journey. “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4) is so true but bread is yummy food for thoughts.  - JS-F

1 comment:

  1. I really love your blog and your posts- they're always interesting