30 March 2007

What is art?

I was watching Nigel Slater last night on the BBC and he was interviewing Keith Allen and one of his friends who was cooking a dish for Keith said 'Food is art without the evidence'. I could find nothing via searching to attribute this quote to.

It took me a while to register it but think about that quote for a minute. I thought how true that saying is. While we strive to cook we eradicate all the evidence of its existence. Well some people document its (as we see on other blogs) existence but by and large we (humans) cook and then consume.

Then I began thinking of other thoughts - dangerous I know. Is all of your cooking geared towards that final 'look'? That final picture perfect meal that we all strive for - otherwise why buy cookbooks? Why continue to beat ourselves up when it doesn't quite look like the picture?

Perhaps it is me getting older that I feel I don't have to 'conform' to anyone's expectations of me and especially about my cooking. I like to cook for people and I like to see that they have enjoyed the meal but I'm getting less impressed by the 'look' of something. Yesterday, I had some blackberries (brambles in the UK) and decided to make muffins with them. So I just took a few recipes I had and made my own - fearful of what might come out of the oven.

However, as usual my fear was for nought. The muffins were quite tasty and even appealing (although no pictures survive) despite my fears. I began to ponder this idea of why I am so fearful. I've had only one real disaster - we call it the fruit disaster. I once saw this program about fruit and creme fraiche and in some important way forgot something because it was awful - both in taste and presentation.

Otherwise, most of my cooking adventures are or have been edible (I'll skip over the mint doubling episode too!). I think the fear comes from the unknown. While I'm cooking or baking I just tend to throw in what I think will work. While I use recipes as a guide I often deviate from them. A friend of mine says we all have our palette. Mine just happens to be in cooking although I am quite good at a number of other things too!

Here's to the adventure in art of cookery.....I feel a title in there somewhere!


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