Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sincere Forms

When I encounter a great performance, and particularly in two sensory domains, cooking and composing, my first reaction is often that of an intense desire to recreate the performance myself, to prolong and intensify the experience, but also to figure out how it was done, and greedily incorporate it into my own repertoire.

So figuring out how that chile relleno was made in Albuquerque or that Jamaican-style beef patty in Hartford or trying to recreate the cinnamon bread from my uncle's bakery in Morro Bay represent impulses as basic to this musician as learning canon and fugue. Getting the flavors right in larb or a Franconian Schäufele is like figuring out how a great and envied orchestrator doubled his woodwinds.

On more than one occasion a technique gathered in the kitchen has wandered into a piece of music (e.g. croissants and their 55 layers) but I have yet to observe a musical skill invading my cooking in a major way. But who knows? -- the application of chance operations to recipes may well be the next good thing. It would certainly be a way 'round the habits of taste.

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