January 26, 2021

Cooking is an art? Ferran Adrià in the Prado

Cooking is an art? Ferran Adrià in the Prado


That gastronomy is a comparable art, for example, to painting, is something that until well into the twentieth century would be considered an aberration. Still today it squeaks, in fact. Among other things because, being an art, it is the most ephemeral of all: from the dish to the palate in a continuous process of creation and destruction. "It's very difficult to know what the kitchen was like in history. The first treaty dates from 1350 but as a profession has never been academic, was nourished by the research of archaeologists and historians to know what was done. Something similar to the Theory of Art with gastronomy was unthinkable. In that we are light years away, and two decades ago nobody talked about cooking as art ". Ferran Adrià, creator of elBulli, is one of the spearheads of this boom in gastronomy and has, he says, seven years especially dedicated to the study of the movements of cuisine and art in history. For this reason, visiting the Prado Museum with him allows an immersion without precdentes in this double slope.

About thirty lucky people toured the galleries of the Madrid art gallery in an exclusive visit behind closed doors with the chef, thanks to the initiative Movistar Likes, to approach the numerous signs of gastronomy in the paintings of the great masters and shed light on the meaning, use and the keys of food in past times. For example, "The Virgin of the Pomegranate", one of the top pieces of Fra Angelico, created in temple to the egg around 1426, and in which this fruit is a symbol of chastity for the Virgin and sacrifice for the baby Jesus, according to revealed Paloma Málaga Shaw, responsible for cultural activities of the Prado. Adrià noted that, at that time, "the difference between fruit and vegetables did not exist" at a conceptual level. Nor between sweet and salty: "In the recipes everything was mixed and you could eat for example a flan of first course".

The Middle Ages was a "gray stage in the kitchen, which was rustic, both in the normal houses and in the court what was eaten were stews and roasts. The restaurant concept did not exist, there were some taverns. " All in all, the kitchen was there as a cultural fact. "I do not understand when people doubt that cuisine is culture. It's the first! ", Adrià defends, who remembers that next to dressing, feeding has always been the first activity of man. Of course, from there to art have to spend many centuries.

As a creative activity, idle, gastronomy takes place in France, but it was born in Italy. The Medici took it to the Gallic country, "and for 400 years, between 1600 and 2000, they have had the monopoly of gastronomy. There is no sector in which a country has had such a monopoly, "says the chef. This leap from the kitchen to feed the kitchen as a hedonistic phenomenon coincides with the time of creation of Prado's capital paintings as "El jardín de las delicias" by El Bosco (which was cataloged by the experts of Felipe II as "The painting of red fruits ", because of the large number of these) or" Las meninas "by Velázquez. The problem in tracking down this forge of an "art" that was not then such is the absence of original recipes. However, little by little the light is being made through research from different areas. Adrià is one of those passionate about cooking who believes that the DNA of art and of course the cultural fact are not alien to the way we have historically understood and used food.

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