Can Food be Art?

Posted filed underDiscussions, Food.

Can Food Art.jpg
“Is food art?” is the wrong question to ask, writes Sara Davis at Tablematters, but American Scholar’s William Deresiewicz says that “cooking isn’t art.”

Yes, food can be art!
Sara Davis : “One reason that art is such a jealously guarded term is that we use it to elevate sensory experience to something special—the implication being that sensory experiences are not all that special on their own. After all, we see and hear and taste every day, as a matter of course; we rely on our notoriously unreliable senses to navigate our messy, clumsy bodies through the world with a minimum of damage. Senses seem to have their own appetites, too, but these are not always governed by the what we’d call the best of human nature: The phrases “eye candy” and “ear candy” exist for a reason. So we rely on the word art to separate out sensory experiences that feel more present (or, perhaps, more proper) in the mind: Reflection, wonder, the apprehension of a feat of skill or imagination, the pleasure of beauty. In the branches of philosophy that seek to describe the relationship between the body and the mind, these cognitive responses to sensory stimuli are called aesthetic experience (although less refined experiences such as disgust also qualify). Let’s bracket the word “art” for the moment, then, and consider the cognitive faculties invoked by the aesthetic experience of eating.

No, food is not art!
William Deresiewicz: “Food is ordered: but so are spreadsheets, or even regular sheets, when you make your bed in the morning. Food evokes emotions: but so do sunsets, or train sounds, or the cigarette smell of a bar. Food embodies ideas: but so does everything that’s made. To evoke is not to represent, and to embody is not to express.”

Image from Carl Warner – Foodscapes