Monday, March 7, 2011

Futurist Cuisine

The starter makes it clear that this will be no ordinary meal. Expect to be served an olive, a quartered fennel bulb and a kumquat, while the fingers of your free hand stroke morsels of velvet, silk and sandpaper. At the same time the scent of carnations will be sprayed into the room and your ears will be assailed by “wild jazz”, Wagner and aeroplane noise.
Three years ago, diners were able to sample this “Aerofood” and five other courses for one night only at the British Library, in a banquet staged in homage to a forgotten gastronomic cult: The Futurist Cookbook.
The cookbook was published in 1932 by Filippo Tommasso Marinetti, a poet, novelist, critic and early Fascist who once fought a duel with a critic. It outraged conservative Italians by suggesting a ban on pasta and was derided as the work of a group of attention-seeking, prankster artists.
Marinetti believed that traditional Italian cuisine was a manifestation of everything smug, lazy and bourgeois. His most notorious suggestion was to outlaw pasta, which he claimed induced lethargy, pessimism, nostalgia and neutralism. Speeches and serious discussion at the table were forbidden.
Marinetti’s philosophy and recipes also anticipated many culinary developments, from the emphasis on presentation in nouvelle cuisine through themed restaurants and low-carbohydrate diets to the application of scientific techniques...

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