Last Sunday, while discussing art with some friends (mostly taking one to task for lazy, inaccurate nomenclature) I made a joke about “conceptual cooking”.

Given a quick Google, it doesn’t seem to exist – though it likely does and is just buried under the noise of journalists, kitchen designers, and restaurant reviewers using the word conceptual to mean “good” or “new”.

What I mean is, much like in a great deal of abstract, conceptual art – the traditional goal of making (let’s talk about image-based art ’cause that’s what I know) art, to make a pretty picture – has been subverted by the concept. The idea behind making the work is the driving force, not so much a polished or even pleasant final experience.

So where’s my conceptual, abstract cooking? Why does food always have to taste good? Why can’t ingredients be organized alphabetically, or added to a pan in 30 second intervals? Why hasn’t someone recreated a food chain, cooking grass then herbivores then whatever would feed on them? (probably because that would involve cooking people) Why hasn’t someone put more than 4 minutes of thought into these ideas and made some absolutely stomach-turning, possibly toxic meals?  (and yes, that is how I feel about a lot of conceptual visual art. stomach-turning, toxic.)

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