We’ve talked about visual art, and while I could go on at length about making or seeing or interacting with visual art, I’m going to move on. Inspired by my time trying to figure out hand-pulled noodles, I’m going to talk about art geared towards the stomach.
Most of the time I am eating just so I can keep going. I don’t think this is ideal, but if I’m running home and need to make sure I don’t flip out in a low blood sugar rage during band practice, then it almost doesn’t matter what I eat so long as I eat. Still, some of the best creative experiences I’ve had center around food.
Granted, my buddy Starving is far better than me at turning a plate of food into an art piece. He has a better eye to actual layout on the plate. I have much more of an eye for smells, combinations of colors, and fulfilling flavors. I find food to be such an interesting art topic because when done well (for me) it is best shared.
I have also gotten there from eating out. I love going out for food with friends and eating a good meal. I don’t always consider my dinner artistry, but there are definitely some examples of note I can think of. As a beer person I love hitting up Cambridge Common to sample their many taps because I am often able to find something seasonal or new to me, often from breweries I love. The food experience there is more of a general food experience, but the beer experience definitely sits more like an appreciation of art. I’ve often sat at Cambridge Brewing Company and crossed those lines, where the beer can introduce the sublime and subtle and artistic, and some of the dishes do as well. It’s humbling and fun and exploratory as an audience, and the audience gets to play the game of figuring out pairings, ways to make the beer and food play off of each other. Your mouth and stomach become and experimental playground for the ultimate match. Occasionally these places have “beer dinners” which I cannot recommend enough as a deeper exploration of food and beer and pairing and a way in which two artists (the brewer and chef) come up with ideas to play off each other.
Restaurants can also become an artistic exchange on multiple levels, if you bring in a good community, and sharing of ideas on top of the gastronomic experience. I have had this both at restaurants, and at home. Coming up with a dinner plan and executing for a table of people is a whole other challenge and expression. Sharing a dish, something crafted in the kitchen, is deeply personal and creative. It could be for 2 people, or for 20. A pot luck also has the ability to provide such an experience. Personally I find that it works better with a theme or a challenge of sorts, be it a cuisine or an ingredient so that there is something to tie the whole event together.
What better than to have some beautiful interesting pungent piece of art than to put it in your mouth and have it become a piece of you?