When Food is Art…

This is a confession, I guess.

When it comes to molecular gastronomy, to “modern” cuisine—whatever you want to call it, I’m talking foams and spheres and one thing made to look like another—I have not had an open mind.

In a recent interview with David Chang, a chef whose vision I admire and food I find delicious, on the HuffPost, Chang reveals that he is a  huge admirer of Wylie Dufresne, and his restaurant WD-50. I ate about five bites of food there on one occasion, at the bar with some chef friends on our way to another restaurant nearby. What I ate looked like a fried egg but was in fact some kind of gelatin thing: the white is some kind of coconut gelatinous thing, the yolk was carrot. Cool? Yes. Wow? You bet. But… do I want this for dinner? I’d rather have the fried egg.

This is NOT an egg.
Warning: This is NOT an egg.

I know some people might find this thinking small, or uninformed, but since it’s my mouth I am putting this stuff in, I feel that there is nothing that matters, nothing I need to know, other than: Do I like it? (Chang’s interview, however, does inspire me to want to try WD-50 again, this time with an open mind, and see what I can find to like instead of dislike. It’s easy to be the cynic. But not very interesting, and not any fun.)

Poverino Pinocchio
Poverino Pinocchio

When it comes to art—as in art-art, not food-art—I do know how little I know. On a recent trip to the Guggenheim, instead of saying, “This stuff is stupid, or “”That’s not art.” I said: “I’m not sophisticated enough to understand how this (cardboard room dividers, people lying on futons, a polyester screen) is art.” There was one exhibit, however, of Pinocchio, that was worth the price of admission. From the angle of his hands, my friends and I guessed that he jumped, which is just so sad. I loved him since I was a child. Never trusted him though.

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