Futuristic Food

Posted October 24, 2007

“Two minutes of chick peas in oil and vinegar. Then, seven capers. Then, twenty-five liqueur cherries. Then, twelve fried potato chips. Then, a silence of a quarter of an hour during which the mouths chew the vacuum. Then, a sip of Barolo wine held in the mouth for one minute.”

This isn’t some zany diet. It’s a work of art – an excerpt from the Futurist Cookbook, a manifesto written to "liberate" Italian cooking by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti in 1932. This past Sunday, as part of a gala fundraiser for the Aaron Copland House, Lidia Bastianich and Del Posto chef de cuisine Mark Ladner turned that passage into something delicious.

This is the second year the Copland House has paired a composer and a chef for its fundraiser– last year Daniel Boulud and Richard Danielpour collaborated on a four-course meal and four-movement chamber piece. This year Bastianich made four dishes to the movements of Aaron Jay Kernis’ piece, The Four Seasons of Futurist Cuisine. The passage came from the 2nd-to-last movement, inspired by Marinetti’s ‘recipe’ for an Autumnal Musical Dinner.

Keeping pace with Kernis’ lively music, Bastianich and Ladner really triumphed. They served a soothing warm salad of chickpeas and capers, with a dried cherry compote and a garnish of potato chips, to accompany tender slices of pork tenderloin that had been bathed in milk (the pork was cribbed from another Marinetti recipe, Nocturnal Love Feast, featuring moonbeams of curdled milk and ham). All things considered, the dish was surprisingly homey and soothing, autumnal in the best possible way. A hush fell as we ate.


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