la cucina futurista – a call to revolution, an artwork, or a cynical prank? (abstract)
Marinetti's Manifesto della cucina futurista, infamous for demanding the abolition of pastasciutta, was published in Turin's Gazzetta del Popolo in December 1930. This was nothing less than a call to revolution against the sexual, physical, and mental lassitude caused, it was claimed, by the Italian predilection for pasta. Full-speed ahead, the futurists opened the Taverna del Santopalato in Turin in March 1931, swiftly followed by banquets in Italy in France. And putting flesh on these aspirational bones, formulae (recipes) appeared in La cucina futurista published in Milan in 1932.
While the Manifesto's railing against pasta could make political sense given the shortage of wheat in Italy, coupled with Mussolini's drive to develop domestic rice growing – futurists were great supporters of il Duce – the shock doctrine proffered no practical alternatives in either banquets or recipes. Instead it flew off on extraordinary tangents including chicken with ball-bearings, and aerofood (black olives, fennel hearts, kumquats – with sandpaper, silk, and velvet). The taverna and subsequent banquets featured equally bizarre concoctions in futurist environments, along with sounds, poetry, light, and scents - early performance art.
But this must be seen in the context of national and international economic depression; the famine affecting more than half the population; the medieval lives of agricultural workers; and, referencing pasta, the urban poor majority couldn't afford flour, while the wheat-growing peasants had no choice.
see full paper (for the Dublin Gastronomy Symposium June 2016)
view presentation (presented at the Dublin Gastronomy Symposium June 2016)