We Discuss #6: Recommended Reads


We Discuss #6: Recommended Reads

by Dwiputri Pertiwi


1. Why are we so obsessed with the pursuit of authenticity? by Steven Poole

“Modern mass-media gluttony, or foodism, has its own cluster of presumed ‘authentic’ virtues. The idea of ‘real’ food is sometimes parsed, adorably, as food with no chemicals, though all food is made of chemicals. It is widely assumed that food sold as organic is purer and closer to an assumedly benign Nature, although no food is made from inorganic matter and organic farming standards sanction the use of neurotoxic fertilisers.”

Have you ever looked for “original” coffee or restaurants that serve “authentic dishes” from this or that country? The chances are that we all have – at least once. And this preference does not apply to food alone, according to Poole.

2. A Tweetable Feast by Jared Keller

“Food is inherently social, best consumed with friends or family; even eating with strangers is better than eating alone. It is essential to our social life that we invite people to eat with us, even when we’re separated by space and time.”

Keller points out the social values of dining, and why he thinks that the flood of food photos on Instagram and other social media outlets might not be such a bad thing. He continues to say that even though “we laugh at our Instagrammed plates and tweets about lunch,” we realize that “the pixilated dishes on Skype or Google+ might be a viable alternative to the kitchen table.”

3. The Culinary Triangle by Sara Davis

“Cultural values and fears might manifest through actual cooking and eating practices, as when we bake our most elaborate pastries for milestones such as birthdays or weddings, or when we refuse to eat food that has fallen on the floor because it has strayed into the zone of the rotten.”

This essay is largely based on Claude Levi-Strauss’s three categories of food: raw, cooked, and rotten. Davis emphasizes the different attitudes that different cultures have toward those categories.

4. Star Wars by Tom Vanderbilt

“In the days before the Internet, eating at an unknown restaurant meant relying on a clutch of quick and dirty heuristics.”

Eating out used to be an adventure, but Vanderbilt notes that nowadays, we are faced with the never-ending supply of reviews and online recommendation. In short, the modern food enthusiast is exposed to many – perhaps even too many – choices. How should we filter out all that information?

5. The Kinfolk Table by Nathan Williams

This recipe book “puts the emphasis back into the relationships that surround eating. Let the people sharing your dinner table be the foreground and superficial details such as fancy recipes and table decorations can fade into the background.”

What do you think about the new aesthetics of food? Presentation is now almost, if not more important than “authenticity” itself. Or perhaps presentation is what makes a certain food authentic.


Event time and location:

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

7—9 pm

Kinokuniya Plaza Senayan
(near the language section)
Jl. Asia Afrika 8
Sogo Plaza Senayan
Lt. 5
Jakarta 10270

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