Cambridge Scholars Publishing
The Future of Post-Human Culinary Art by Peter Baofu Summary
Is culinary art really so exact that, as Delia Smith once wrote, “cooking is an exact art and not some casual game”? (BQ 2012) This exact view of cooking can be contrasted with an opposing observation by Tom Jaine, when he argued that, “if cooking becomes an art form rather than a means of providing a reasonable diet, then something is clearly wrong.” (BQ 2012a) Contrary to these opposing views (and other ones as will be discussed in the book), culinary art, in relation to both ingredients and techniques, is neither possible or impossible, nor desirable or undesirable, to the extent that the respective ideologues on different sides would like us to believe. Needless to say, this challenge to the opposing views of cooking does not mean that culinary art has no practical value, or that those interdisciplinary fields (related to culinary art) like food science, nutritional economics, food chemistry, food aesthetics, the ethics of killing for food, molecular gastronomy, food rheology, food photography, Shechita, the science of aphrodisiacs, and so on, are unimportant. Of course, neither of these extreme views is reasonable. Rather, this book offers an alternative, better way to understand the future of culinary art, especially in the dialectic context of ingredients and techniques—while learning from different approaches in the literature but without favoring any one of them or integrating them, since they are not necessarily compatible with each other. More specifically, this book offers a new theory (that is, the inquisitive theory of culinary art) to go beyond the existing approaches in a novel way. If successful, this seminal project is to fundamentally change the way that we think about culinary art in relation to ingredients and techniques from the combined perspectives of the mind, nature, society, and culture, with enormous implications for the human future and what the author originally called its “post-human” fate.