DIY Food – an Introduction

By Evy Jokhova

Those of us born before the mid 80’s may remember that as children we did not see shops in Western Europe looming with meat, veg and exotic fruit quite as much as they do now; perhaps store hours were shorter where we lived as well. This is certainly true for Austria, where I grew up. Grocery stores up until the start of the new millennium were open Monday – Friday and only until 5pm. If you did not buy enough food to feed the family over the weekend, you would have to drive to the airport or to the central train station where the only two grocery stores that operated over the weekends in Vienna were open, and queue for food. The other alternative was asking the neighbours, thus maintaining a good relationship with the local community was especially important if bank holiday weekend was coming up.

In current times not only is there an over abundance of food in Western countries, there is a visible excess and hundreds of types of diets that tell us to one one thing or another. A recent trend seems to be the raise in popularity of ‘caveman diet’ – a diet that propagates eating as we did in Palaeolithic times. The Caveman Diet argues that our bodies have spend thousands of years evolving to cope with diet of Palaeolithic man, yet, the boom of agriculture had such a fast onset in terms of food production that our bodies have not had the time to adapt to properly digesting grains, wheat, potatoes, dairy and other farmed foods. The supporter of the diet believe that many farmed food hold small amounts of toxins that our bodies have not yet learn how to deal with. Yet, food continues to become more elaborate, experimental, at times scientific enticing more and more individuals to joint chafing schools and try their hand out at being creative in the kitchen. Generally this is to be viewed as a positive, but what if we are preparing old that we do not understand? How far have we become removed from the source of the food through ingrained habit of buying nourishment pre-packaged and already washed?

It looks like there may be yet another exciting ‘food invention’ about to sweep through the Western World – the 3D printing of food! New 3D printers have been released in the US and are “professionally certified” without having to attend cooking classes. “A ‘digital cookbook’ will allow those unfamiliar with CAD modelling to generate and print complex objects with ease. The ChefJet is aimed at the domestic market.”[1] Food is becoming seen as the “next-frontier” of 3-D printing. Chocolate is already being printed and many new possibilities with open up with the next years. Food as well as objects will be customised, they will be adapted to individual needs and made according to spec of consumer. Kyttanen, co-founder of design studio Freedom of Creation and creative director of printer manufacturer 3D Systems, believes the design world can take a leaf from the book of food in terms of its approach to copyright, suggesting that the concept of sharing of design ideas should be view as fluid as sharing recipes. Commenting on the free access to thousands of recipes on the internet and the spirit of exchange that surround people sharing their food knowledge, Kyttanen says that no one is going to come over for dinner at someone else’s house and say that they cannot make the food that they have prepared, no one has the patent for a pasta bolognese, and this is why he things that food is at the forefront of design. People can create anything they link and eat it, and shaped can be made and then consumed, existing only for a short time. Food in Kyttane’s view changes everything for design.

However, does endless personalising remove us from long standing traditions? And through feeding our personal indulgences are we loosing those wonderful old eateries that serve as local and social hubs where people of all backgrounds and professions meet and converse on the widest range of subjects from high brow intellectual debates, to politics, sport and gossip?

References

[1] http://www.dezeen.com/2013/03/27/food-is-the-next-frontier-of-3d-printing-janne-kytannen/

[2] http://www.dezeen.com/2013/11/28/rem-koolhaas-countryside-preservation-movie-interview/

[3] Barbery, Muriel. 2009. The Gourmet. Gallic Books, London

[4] The New Food Revolution. May 2014. National Geographic Magazine.

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