Michael Ruhlman, chef and writer extraordinaire, blogged today about ‘culinary intelligence as an emerging trend’. The post is inspiring, and refers to recent books and debates amongst chefs and food writers regarding what the French would call ‘food culture’ — an appreciation for eating as something pleasurable, social, and even joyful. ‘Culinary intelligence’ refers to the notion that we can learn to appreciate both eating and cooking (just like we learn to appreciate music, or literature). This accords with the French view of ‘taste training’, on which I’ll have more to say in a post next week.
What I find exciting about Ruhlman’s post is that he describes the US as a country ‘hungry for good, delicious choices’. He challenges the notion that healthy food has to be bland (the French know — and prove — otherwise). He also challenges the idea that only ‘foodies’ can appreciate good food; rather, it’s something everyone can enjoy. But it does require a little practise, and it helps to start young (which is where his mention of French Kids comes in!).
What do you think? Are we at a tipping point (just like we were with smoking a few decades ago), where there is sufficient momentum to make changes in why and how as well as what we eat — at home, in schools, and in the workplace? Or is our collective “culinary intelligence” still in its infancy?
(Read Ruhlman’s post here).