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Monday, April 13, 2009

Futureburger II

This morning, we saw a commercial for a drug designed to treat Rosacea (a condition whose sufferers have unsightly red blotches on their faces).  The name of this treatment?  Oracea.  So, what do we think of naming drugs to rhyme with the diseases they treat?  "I'm sorry, sir, but your condition is quite serious.  We're going to start you on a course of Schmepatitis."

Overheard on a TV show: "By 1987, 50% of the serious crimes in New York City were drug-related."  Interestingly, drugs played a part in only 22% of humorous crimes.

And finally, a bit more about Mental Floss's "New Einsteins":  Another honoree was chef/inventor Homaro Cantu of Moto Restaurant in Chicago.  Cantu is a practitioner of what has come to be called "molecular gastronomy," which basically means cooking as chemistry experiment (and as such is somewhat misleading, as ALL cooking is, frankly, chemistry in action).

Simply put, Molecular Gastronomes (?) do odd things with food.  Thus, at Moto, you find edible menus, doughnut soup, flapjack popsicles, and the like (if such things can be said to have a "like").  One item that stood out for the Solipsist was a marinated pulled-pork dish that looks "exactly like a half-smoked stogie in an ashtray."  Mind you, this is NOT a figurative description, as in "Oh, the presentation of the food was unspeakable!  The marinated pork looked like a half-smoked cigar in an ashtray!"  Rather, it is literal: The chef prepared a dish of pulled pork so as to look like an unfinished Cuban cigar.

Now, the Solipsist will admit that this sounds kind of cool.  At the same time, though, he can't help but wonder what the larger point is.  If the food itself is delicious, as one would hope, then why would the dining experience be enhanced by optical illusions of the food's presentation.  Does delicious spaghetti taste better because it looks like a cheeseburger?  And if this is meant to be "art," then why a HALF-SMOKED cigar?  That sounds neither aesthetically nor culinarily appealing.  And if Cantu is making some sort of artistic-political statement by disguising fine cuisine as refuse, why not take it to its logical extreme?  Why not make a turd-shaped Chicken Kiev (assuming he hasn't already done so)?

Genius has the right to be whimsical, and the Solipsist is not one to condemn artistic ambition.  But somehow, there seems something less than artistically or scientifically honest about doing something because it CAN be done, rather than because it SHOULD be done.

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