Spain figured out about fifteen years ago, kind of like England did twenty years ago, that if you stop burning the garlic and stop burning everything, everything tastes good and you have this amazing wealth of products and you can actually make really delicious food. What happened then, in the same sense that Salvador Dalí went off the edge in his days, and these people are up and around that kind of an area, they live for a provocation.
And guys like Adriá, who everyone’s heard of, at this restaurant called elBulli in the town of Roses, became the godfather of kind of this sense of provocation and initially his intention was merely to provoke the diner and then give them something to eat and whether it was absolutely taste or not wasn’t the most important thing, but I think he still is the leader and he’s come around the corner and I’ve been there six times. And the first time was pure provocation, and I loved it, and the second time it was pure provocation, and I didn’t love it so much. In the last two times that I’ve been there, he has turned the corner and understood the real nature of the business of restaurants and the ideology of feeding people food, and he has completely re-embraced, although maintaining his technological edge, he has re-embraced the whole idea of hedonism being the main event.
Mario Batali at LIVE on November 18, 2006 for the program, Gluttony: Mario Batali, Dan Barber, Barbara Kafka & Corby Kummer, which was co-presented with The Atlantic.
We also had Ferran Adrià here in 2008 with Corby Kummer and Harold McGee on the occasion of his book A Day at elBulli. elBulli had a strict philosophy of food preparation and service, which Batali touches on above. A complete list of principles when preparing this cuisine has been prepared and compiled by elBulli here…
When reading the list, number 16 stuck out when thinking about our upcoming event with Elizabeth Gilbert and John Hodgman…
Gilbert has recently facilitated and presented a reprint of the cookbook At Home on the Range, which was written by her great-grandmother, Margaret Yardley Potter and originally published in 1947. It’s particularly fascinating because of the frank, personable prose and her focus on east coast local cuisine, which was mostly a matter of circumstance considering the time. But, Potter takes the need to use local ingredients as an occasion to learn inventive ways to transform the down-home American palate with eels, calf brains, and of course, tea cookies.
So, come join the food discussion May 22! Gilbert will talk about her personal experience finding the cookbook and how reading these recipes, some of which became family traditions, influenced how she currently looks at the movement for local and fresh cuisine. John Hodgman, expert on everything and anything, will be there to facilitate!
(P.S. enter the code “BROIL” when purchasing tickets to get 40% off!)