mind's palate: abstract

mind's palate is a food-related version of mind's eye – creating a personal food Utopia that almost anyone can enjoy simply through thinking beyond the known. Finding inspiration in aspects of La cucina futurista and the Codex Seraphinianus, sideways-shifting the properties of some of today's familiar ingredients and processes, and musing on the culinary autonomous Bos ameglionus, mind's palate conjures up improbable ingredients and dishes, and sometimes improbable menus. These are entirely thought-based, some of which will convert into artefacts in their own right.

In more detail:

Marinetti's La cucina futurista, inter alia, sought to challenge convention with dishes ranging from the preposterous Pollofiat (chicken 'flavoured' with mild-steel ball-bearings) to the impudently un-fascistic Pranzo Tattile (part orgy, part neurogastronomy).

Ripe red tomatoes, for example, collapse when cooked. So consider the baking tomato – one whose skin peels off, and whose red outer flesh firms up with a crisp golden-brown coating when baked; its pithy core rapidly softens in cooking easily taking on additional conventional or challenging flavours. Or consider a tomato whose intense flavours and scents are so fugitive that they have to be eaten warm and straight from the vine.

Douglas Adams' Bos amegilonus - a fictional bovine creature bred to want to be eaten and “was capable of saying so clearly and distinctly” - a kind of autonomy that may be a leap too far.

mind's palate is not about restaurant menus – it creates multi-level, free-standing, beautifully designed and illustrated documents that combine the glories of (say) Dominique Crenn's multi-page recipes; delightful improbabilities such as the baking tomato; along with ingredients both freely available and rare/local/imagined; and contextual information about the culture and history of the ingredients and dishes, both factual and fanciful.

As Marinetti, Serafini, Crenn, and others have travelled their unknowns to create their individual culinary worlds, mind's palate is a personal aesthetic Utopia.

This is the abstract for a paper presented at the Symposium of Australian Gastronomy at the University of Melbourne and the William Angliss Institute, 5th December 2016.

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