6.22.2014

Show cooking as a real attractive art (picture from Fooding Social Club)

Since I live in Italy I’ve seen a lot of of show cooking events. To me it remains strange to see people that make cooking an event to animate the visitors. Usually it does not even animate me at all, as usually it is too far away too see something, the stories are boring (no one like to hear, cut this…, stir that….) and the result is disappointing. A blog about the sense and non sense of using food to entertain.

Show cooking is a form of entertainment that is typically of our days. In earlier periods, one could hardly afford to use food for these kind of events: most people would already feel lucky if they had enough to feed themselves.
For centuries, preparing food has been an act done by the whole family. The men collected the food, the woman prepared it and then it was eaten by the whole family. The preparation took hours or even days and it was not something that was perceived as a spectacle. Rather it was hard work and if you were not helping in the kitchen there were definitely lots of other things to do to keep the household running.

We now slowly seem to lose respect for this ‘profession’: ready-to-eat-breakfasts, quick lunches and cheap dinners at the sushi bar are now the order of the day. And that also enabled this to make a show out of it: open-plan kitchens in many restaurants and the earlier named show cooking.  

Even though show cooking seems something of these days, we should not forget about the examples of the past, of the rich that could afford to ‘play’ with food. This class has always used food to show off their guests as described in John Dicke’s Delizia. And we all know the still lifes, for example the ones by Caravaggio, in which food became the main subject of an artwork. If it interests you, I suggest you go and visit the Art&Foodexhibition that will be organized by Expo 2015 and Triennale Design Museum, Milan.

To get an idea of what we now do with food (besides eating it) you should do a google search on ‘food art’. I was amazed of the artworks that are created of products that are actually made to eat. Anyhow, back to the shows. I’ve (accidentally) visited a few of them, but hardly once I’ve been convinced about the intention. Usually it is not more than a (famous) cook that prepares a simple but tasty dish while explaining what he is doing. The only difference I see with watching a cooking program on the television is that you are now treated with the nice flavors that come with the cooking process. It is quiet boring anyhow.

As I said, once I was taken by the performance. During an aperitivo at the Festival delle Comunit√† del Cambiamento, FoodDj Nick Difino from Fooding Social Club did a good job. While preparing the dish he treated us with good music and interesting stories, not about the recipe, but about the ingredients, the history of the dish, and so on.  It was a real pleasure, not only for the mouths, but also for the ears and eyes.