“There is no love sincerer than the love of food.” – George Bernard Shaw
I embody certain stereotypes of a naturalized citizen, a French woman and an architect. I love fashion. I love modernism. And I love food. My daughter and boyfriend often tell me, with mouths full of Bouillabaisse, why I don’t become a chef instead of an architect. I certainly am less grumpy in the kitchen (their words, not mine).
It is true that there is something appealing to being allowed swigs of red wine at work, that shopping at Dean & Deluca could be an investment or that I could consider watching The Food Network as research. Plus, I have to admit, I have been salivating over the new book by Nathan Myhrvold, a $625 publication filled with not only divine recipes but the science behind them. (As soon as the recession is over I am buying a copy!) Myhrvold tears apart not only the ingredients and their histories but our own cooking devices – he slices microwaves, pans and barbeques in half. He attacks the very soul of not only the food we put in our mouth but the materials that help it get there.
Now, I love architecture and I love food and I don’t think I could have one without the other. I used to think cooking was a hobby I used to distance myself from my career. Can you tell where this is going? I was clearly wrong.
One of my favorite professors and architects, Dolf Schnelbli once told me over dinner that good architects make good cooks or was it the inverse? I spent much of my time with Dolf surprised by what he said. His comment on cooking and architecture was the kind of nugget of wisdom that Dolf often imparted on me, which lay dormant in my mind until, quite suddenly, a light flicked on years later.
Architects layer spaces like cooks layer dishes. Architecture relies on building off of the foundation of materials, like a cook with the foundation of ingredients. A good dish is a fine orchestration of many different elements. So is a building. A building encompasses a complex understanding of structure, color and adaptation. So does a good dish. Each are drastically affected by small alterations
And most importantly – just because a dish, or a building, is made up of beautiful and expensive parts, does not mean it will be good! The polish, finished result must reflect the arduous work of the process behind it.
Now I’m off to see if I can cut the Bilbao in half!