chapter  16
14 Pages

Tractatus Logico-Gastronomicus

If every dish is a symbol, then every cuisine implies a metaphysics, all too often doomed to remain implicit. The social and aesthetic significance of a dish is most often dissimulated by the vagaries of personal "taste," buried in the dense dialectic between forgetting and anamnesis that forms and informs our senses, sensitivity, sensibility. Taste is a dynamic principle, not a static qualification or attribute, the origins of which are lost in pure contingency, and escape the essentialism which haunts the other arts. Ultimately, the only manner to estimate gastronomic values and origins, to consider the question of taste, is through a "Proustian" digression: lengthy, sensual, detailed, eloquent, seductive, and most especially, contingent. For our earliest culinary memories, the most archaic ones, are more ancient than paleolithic cooking, and as intimate as love.