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Thread: Cooking as Art or Craft?

  1. #1
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    mr drinky's Avatar
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    Cooking as Art or Craft?

    I'm feeling a bit philosophical after reading an article in Gastronomica called "The Art in Gastronomy."

    To over simplify it, the author and notable tree killer, Nathan Myhrvold, talks about art as engaging us in intellectual and emotional ways whereas craft is more about the process: production, organization, and management.

    It was an interesting read, but are you cooks out there making art or practicing a craft. Or both? Or neither?

    k.
    "In Japan they don't call it Japanese food, they just call it food." -- Children's Hospital Quote

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    Senior Member DwarvenChef's Avatar
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    I'm definatly Craft leaning side than what I see as Art cooking. As many will have varing views on this subject, and we should, I don't have a passion to creat something new for the sake of creation. I do like to come up with new stuff but it's close to something old with just a tweek here and there. The art side I see and cutting edge "visual" food as much as flavor.

    In the broad sense though Baking is the science of cooking as wehre the stovetop and roasts are the art. Baking is ridged in it's chemecal reactions to create something. Stove top and roasts have a broad array of "Play" involved that allow for a freedom of will to take hold.

    My thoughts...

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    Practicing a craft. I'm a skilled laborer, not an artist. I think you have to be passionate to make art, and cooking isn't my passion, it's my profession.

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    A theme that kept coming up in the article was this idea that art gastronomy is creating a dialogue between chef and diner.

    k.
    "In Japan they don't call it Japanese food, they just call it food." -- Children's Hospital Quote

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    Senior Member ThEoRy's Avatar
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    The answer is yes.
    Starting this harvest I'm a starving startling artist/
    Lyrical arsonist it's arduous spitting this smartest arsenic/

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr drinky View Post
    A theme that kept coming up in the article was this idea that art gastronomy is creating a dialogue between chef and diner.

    k.
    Yikes. Really? Here's the thing: there are a lot more construction workers than architects, and our "foodie culture" has every jerkoff with a pan and an apron thinking he's Franklin Lloyd Wright when truth be told, most these people aren't fit to build a 7-11. You don't want to have a dialogue with the chef, chances are he's a dick who thinks there are subtleties in the four cheese blend he put in his sue-vee mashed potatoes. It's onanistic self-aggrandizement spawned by decades of sophists rationalizing their menial career paths, prodded on by the Food Network and the ever-flowing dollar bills of armchair gastronomists and their pedestrian tastes, who need desperately to feel that this hamburger was better than the last.

    It's food. There may be six or seven people on the planet who are doing anything "artistic" with it. The rest of us are just playing ketchup, and kidding ourselves into making it seem less mundane than it really is.

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    Das HandleMeister apicius9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vertigo View Post
    Yikes. Really? Here's the thing: there are a lot more construction workers than architects, and our "foodie culture" has every jerkoff with a pan and an apron thinking he's Franklin Lloyd Wright when truth be told, most these people aren't fit to build a 7-11. You don't want to have a dialogue with the chef, chances are he's a dick who thinks there are subtleties in the four cheese blend he put in his sue-vee mashed potatoes. It's onanistic self-aggrandizement spawned by decades of sophists rationalizing their menial career paths, prodded on by the Food Network and the ever-flowing dollar bills of armchair gastronomists and their pedestrian tastes, who need desperately to feel that this hamburger was better than the last.

    It's food. There may be six or seven people on the planet who are doing anything "artistic" with it. The rest of us are just playing ketchup, and kidding ourselves into making it seem less mundane than it really is.

    My favorite post in a long time!

    Stefan

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    Cash is what creates a dialog between the chef and diner. I am a craftsman it is who i am and what I do. I was a sculptor for a lot of years and made Native American jewelry on the pow wow and Native arts circuit. I have been to hundreds of art shows and I know thousands of artists, and the ones that need to eat call themselves craftsman and the ones that don't need the money call themselves artists.
    There are a lot of artists and chefs out there with no skills or talent that make money as artists. The ones with talent often time are exceptional craftsman. The problem with people who write these articles is that they rarely ever actually talk to the common man or the craftsman. They only talk to the flavor of the month or the guy with the good pr person.
    Food as art, okay. food that satisfies the soul much better. People used to say, wow your a great artist and I used to say no I'm just a poor craftsman. Don't get me wrong there are amazing artists out there, that can make you feel every emotion with a word, image, sound, taste or touch and I applaud them and respect them. There is something to be said about the well crafted tools that allow them to do what they do so well. Once in a while one of those craftsman reaches artistic heights and we remember them for their art and forget they were craftsman first. ( Leonardo, Michelangelo and Stradivarius.)
    No I would rather be remembered as a craftsman. The patrons of art are so fickle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vertigo View Post
    Yikes. Really? Here's the thing: there are a lot more construction workers than architects, and our "foodie culture" has every jerkoff with a pan and an apron thinking he's Franklin Lloyd Wright when truth be told, most these people aren't fit to build a 7-11. You don't want to have a dialogue with the chef, chances are he's a dick who thinks there are subtleties in the four cheese blend he put in his sue-vee mashed potatoes. It's onanistic self-aggrandizement spawned by decades of sophists rationalizing their menial career paths, prodded on by the Food Network and the ever-flowing dollar bills of armchair gastronomists and their pedestrian tastes, who need desperately to feel that this hamburger was better than the last.

    It's food. There may be six or seven people on the planet who are doing anything "artistic" with it. The rest of us are just playing ketchup, and kidding ourselves into making it seem less mundane than it really is.
    +1

    Quote Originally Posted by sachem allison View Post
    Cash is what creates a dialog between the chef and diner. I am a craftsman it is who i am and what I do.
    +2

    I agree wholeheartedly. Dining out is like going to the opera. There's no dialogue between the audience and the cast & conductor. You go to enjoy the experience and be satisfied internally. Of course it's engaging, but the relationship is the individual reacting to the results of other people's labour, not with the labourers themselves. I write recipes, use ingredients & techniques, and plate food guided (not dictated) by my own style. If a customer has some sort of epiphany in the dining room, all the better; but that doesn't open the door for him/her to come into the kitchen and initiate a discussion. That right & privilege is reserved only for fellow chefs.

    "Art gastronomy" has a distinctly unpleasant ring to it, like "casual sex". Means nothing, lasts but a moment, and may necessitate a trip to the doctor shortly threrafter.
    Though I could not caution all I still might warn a few; Don't raise your hand to raise no flag atop no ship of fools. - Robert Hunter

  10. #10
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    Craftsmanship is learning techniques on how to make something. Experience, trail and error, improve and refine technique. Art often times gets confused with techniques. Especially when the uninitiated, experience a dish, they might think the cook is artistic instead of using a proven technique.

    There are always the people, who do not want to put in the time and effort to learn techniques, and claim its artistic freedom, when in reality it is laziness. People at the top of their fields, have developed techniques that become known as their style.

    The term artistic is thrown around casually either to dress up a mundane activity as Vertigo suggests in his post or to describe some vague idea such as dialogue between chef and diner. Artistry, which is revolutionary instead of evolutionary is rare.

    Jay

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