I have a problem with books about food. Not recipe books, although that’s a thing too, books about cooking, flavors, culinary science. I’m fully aware that food writing could easily be subbed in for music in that Frank Zappa quote about how “writing about music is like dancing about architecture,” but I don’t care, I’m here for it. There’s a dozen tweets about how frustrating it is to pull up a recipe and be confronted with three pages of why the author loves the flavors; I’m the miserable bastard those pages are written for. I love it. I love all of it.
I just kinda liked this.
The problem with this book is that it’s all about the things surrounding food that contribute to our experience of eating without actually being about the food. And I guess that’s one step too far removed for me to really be into? There were interesting things to be found here, like the sensory elements of food, how you can trick the mind into perceiving different tastes and textures by changing the shape of plates or lighting or music; but a lot of it felt like the kind of nouvelle cuisine nonsense that exists to be mocked. I’m all for molecular gastronomy, but intentionally difficult-to-use utensils and the surrealist movement shenanigans the author writes about here are a bit much. I don’t doubt that the sizzle helps you enjoy the steak. I just need there to be an actual steak there too.