09 August 2012

A Meal As An Art Form


Has it ever crossed your mind that food could be seen as the ultimate artistic endeavour?  Just think about it.  It is probably the only artistic experience that encompasses all of the senses - sight, taste, sound, touch, smell and there may be others.

Just consider the various combinations of light and shade, colour, composition on the plate, texture, sweetness, tartness, the feel in the mouth, hot and cold, crunchiness, the many aromas and spices.    On top of it all there is the timeliness of a good meal and the fact that every meal is an ephemeral piece of art.  And then there are the two, three or more courses.  And it has a functional element too, although we don’t give that too much thought.  It is three-dimensional but with time as another dimension.  My word, Einstein would be pleased with me.

Desert as an Art Form - Courtesy of WinTech Students, Hamilton, NZ

If it is to be a meal of any consequence a great deal of forethought will have gone into it both in the procurement of ingredients and in the preparation. It goes beyond the material presented on the dinner plate.  There are the invitations and preparatory  customs, the pre-dinner drinks (the play of light through a glass of red wine for just a start), the experimental, emotional and expectational aspects of  a great meal. Great movies have been made about a single meal.  I once saw a movie where the time for euthanasia was determined by the dying person’s refusal to drink or eat magnificent fare. And no, I am not suggesting euthanasia for those not interested in good food and drink. But, for those without any interest in food, you'd have to wonder about their enjoyment of life.

And my apologies to those out there who cannot even get a meal of any sort.  That is another matter - needing different considerations.