Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Confessions from a Kitchen
I am no art connoisseur. I wouldn't be able to tell my Gauguin from my van Gogh, or my Picasso from my Miró. Okay, maybe Picasso. People that can spend hour after hour in a museum, walking up and down aisles, standing still in front of a painting for ages, slightly tilting their head to get the best lighting on the object in front of them amaze me. How do they do it? How do they keep seeing new things, new angles, new colors and brush strokes? And why oh why wont it jump out at me?
Is it a patience thing? Or is it maybe just because my family, or someone else for that matter, never taught me? Is it something you have to learn, or is it naturally there? I don't know, but whatever it is, it's not something I posses.
Or maybe... maybe I'm just not looking at it the right way.
I know a couple of chefs. A couple of them are women, but let's admit, most of them are men, at least in my neck of the woods. They're craftsmen, but some might call them artists. They have big, butchy man hands, they throw around pots the size of a baby's bathtub and wrestle stock bones and boxes of produce. They cook and bake and stand there in awful heat, day in and day out, sweating, clenching teeth and plating - and they make teeny tiny works of art. A kind of art I can actually understand.
You see, food. There's something I understand. I mean, it's there, everyday, all the time. It's just a matter of opening your eyes. You can dress it up, or dress it down, but it's still just - food. It is colors, textures, tastes - it's temperamental, it's alive. It's - pretty.
I love that. That is where I see the beauty, that is where my kind of art is defined. I like food at it's best when it's simple, when it's played down, served on a big, white plate, no frills, not too many distracting objects. The art starts with the produce itself, and then goes on from there. But when the vegetable, fruit, dairy, meat and fish hit the counter - that's when I tilt my head and look really close... And reach for the camera.