An Extravagant Affair

15 Sep

If Fukuoka were looking down on us from the heavens, he would be looking at us with disappointment and disgust in his eyes. Fukuoka was an advocate for simplicity in food. He believed in the natural form of food— organically grown food with little, if any, alteration. According to Fukuoka, people should live with nature and not separate themselves from it; they should learn how to coexist with it in its pure form.  To him, food and the human spirit should be one. Thus, a human should be “satisfied with simple food, it is nutritious, tastes good and is useful daily medicine” (Fukuoka 136). Today, this is certainly not the case.

We live in Southern California where food has become a culture, a form of expression. The natural ingredients have taken backstage, and the chef’s ability to use the ingredients and create a masterpiece has come to define cuisine. Due to the extravagant affair eating is today, a new class of people has emerged—the modern “foodie”. A “foodie” is basically an arrogant eater, someone who prides himself in recognizing quality food and believes he has the right to criticize cuisine. Today, because of the many restaurants and ethnic cuisines that exist, the “foodie” has become very common. In fact, every other person is a “foodie” of some sort.

To Fukuoka, the “foodie” is the enemy. He feels as if the “foodie” has missed the whole purpose of eating. Instead of being united, “food and the human spirit have become estranged” (Fukuoka 136). Eating should focus on the natural flavors of food, not the seasoning or cooking technique. Modern day cuisine has confused the human spirit, creating chaos. For Fukuoka, this is disaster. In his perfect world, eating would be a simple process with simple ingredients and simple ambiance. No one would be able to pride themselves as a “foodie” because food would be pretty standard. The ostentatious food industry would not exist.

Much to Fukuoka’s disappointment, the industry is not changing. Elaborate food is so ingrained in society, that there is no going back. In fact, Fukuoka’s view feels very primitive and unrealistic. I’m sure there are still some advocates of simplicity today, but their movement is not revolutionizing anything. The various cuisines are here to stay and eating will continue to be an extravagant affair.

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