Eating as an art

{Image by Jessica Shaver Photography for Équilibre}

I read an interesting opinion piece recently on how food has replaced art as high culture. While I agree that food should not replace art altogether, I don’t believe that the whole ‘foodie’ movement has necessarily been a bad thing.

It reminded me of the quote above, which I adore. Everyone needs to eat, yes. But to truly nourish your body and soul takes thought, preparation, planning and a real connection with your food. There is an art to it.

For me personally, food is very much my ‘art’. As a kid, I used to be very creative – always writing imaginative stories, painting, drawing and crafting. As I grew up that streak was gradually stifled with the reality of what I thought I should be doing (Law degree? Hmmm…not very creative!) It wasn’t until I re-discovered the wonderful world of food and cooking that I was able to re-connect with my creative side and allow it to flourish. By art, I don’t just mean beautiful pictures of food or the way it is arranged on the plate. To me, the art of food includes the entire process of sourcing ingredients, finding recipes, adding individual touches, being in tune with what my body needs and being in the moment when chopping, stirring and heating. It’s the experience of sitting down to eat and how you choose to do it, whether on your own or sharing with others. It involves all the senses, and just like art (or music, or books) we all have our own unique tastes and preferences.

Everyone has a blank canvas when it comes to food. What you choose to paint it with can mean the difference between a Monet or a back alley knock-off. For me, a frozen, processed TV dinner or a drive-through meal has little artistic potential, whereas a meal put together with thought and intention has the power to feed my artistic soul no matter how simple it may be.

While I have little time or energy to devote to reading the classics or visiting an art gallery at this stage in my life, I do have to feed myself and my family. So for now, food remains my little oasis of creativity.

For those of us who are lucky enough to have choices in what kind of food we buy and the effort we put in to preparing it, a little intelligence can go a long way, and yes, it can indeed become our art, without de-valuing other cultural pursuits in any way!

Do you agree? Should food really become art, or should it just be food for food’s sake – simply a means of fuelling our bodies, nothing more?

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