Today I’m thrilled to announce that I’m setting up a new site in the ‘What X Are’ franchise centred on food. Food is a topic that is close to all of our hearts, but I believe that because chefs borrow language from other industries, we have difficulty in understanding food on its own terms.
Key areas that this new blog will cover include: Foods are not games, nor are they stories. They are neither thaumatic nor dramatic. They are instead omnommatic. Foods may also have the sense of story or play about them of course, which I call saucysense. It’s also important to understand that all foods are made of soups and all foods are made to bin.
Really the topic is all about the brain of the consumer and how they think. On the one hand there is the inner artist, the Nommy Brain, which wants to think of food in terms of taste and meaning, and the context of eating it. When you eat Cheerios this morning and it takes you back to your childhood in Bolivia smuggling Cheerios to the rebels, that’s your Nommy Brain in action.
The other part, however, is your Eaty Brain. The Eaty Brain only sees food in terms of blocks of fat, protein or energy, things to be broiled or stewed. It doesn’t care about context or Bolivia, only that there is enough gravy to go around and that nobody’s taken the last chocolate.
As food makers (let’s get away from cooks and chefs, which are broadcast-economy terms) it is important to understand how the two brains work together or are in tension. Too many times I’ve seen food developers misunderstand this and try to mangle foods together, such as broccoli fries or de-ionized salt or sushi. None of them could ever be appealing to the average eater.
Lastly, a key take-away that I hope you all get is the idea that you need a market-stall story. Without that story, a community formed around a fish stall perhaps, your food has very little chance of succeeding in this Internet age. The Internet makes ghosts and goblins real you know, and also enables food to never age. Without a story, and also something to do with social media, then all you’ve done is made a cake about you. Your cake needs to be about them.
I hope you’ll join me on this new nommatic journey.