Finding Art in the Food you Eat
Taking the time to recognize that each element of our lives lends itself to being an artful moment does take some practice. Do you find the art in the food you eat?
You’ve experienced that meal that was served to you by coming with such elegance or such fanfare that it was clear that the chef and even the server thought of it as art. But did you? What about the making of a simple grilled cheese sandwich? Can that be art? Indeed I say yes!
Okay, before you think I’m just completely off my rocker, consider this quote from Antonin Careme 1784-1833; “The arts are five in number: painting, sculpture, poetry, music, architecture –whose main branch is confectionery” .
Renee Kasman, former pastry chef at Zola and now with TIn Angel Restaurant, won a contest sponsored by Purity Ice Cream for the 2nd Harvest Food Bank. She took a classic vanilla ice cream and added ingredients to make it an Italian Macaroon Blueberry Caramel Crunch desert. “A successful song is a song that you want to hear over and over again” says Kasman. ”Good food should be the same. If you have done it correctly you will want it over and over again.”
Some chefs will spend time working on the visual element and others more on the flavor and texture. The art is found in finding a balance of both, not losing sight that food is art for your mouth. Wedding cakes for example, need to be made to hold up under fluctuating temperatures and sometimes making them to look just breath taking can result in a pretty bland taste. Alice Waters opened Chez Panisse in California in 1971, serving a single fixed-price menu that changes daily. The set menu format remains at the heart of Alice’s philosophy of serving only the highest quality products, only when they are in season. Over the course of three decades, Chez Panisse has developed a network of mostly local farmers and ranchers whose dedication to sustainable agriculture provides a steady supply of pure and fresh ingredients. This concept is followed as much as possible at just about any really great chef owned restaurant in this town.
When it comes to money, we put it where our mouth is! Eating out in Nashville can be a social pleasure but it is also a clear statement that we appreciate the enjoyment of artful food.
Slow down and look, taste and smell your food and think about the farmer that raised the ingredients, the chef that prepared it and the proprietor that has set the music and colors in place around you for an artful experience.
Now back at home, let’s do the same. Let’s look at your kitchen as your studio! Enjoy finding the right utensils and items to work with. I’m very fortunate to have a wife that creates a menu of meals and does the shopping and then we cook together.
We love food but by planning and creating and enjoying food more slowly and by making it at home where we know what was in it. It can be very good for you too!
Okay so back to that grilled cheese –