Andrea, Traci, and Lexi created a PowerPoint for their final project in London about how food can be performative through many senses to create an understood language similar to their dance performances. The students used the Borough Market in London as the setting for their extravagant, sensory food adventure.
“Food, and all that is associated with it, is already larger than life. It is already highly charged with meaning and affect it is
This opulent display of desserts attracted customers from across the market. Each dessert paid particular attention to detail—whether it was in the scripting of letters, the geometric cutting of each slice, or the swirling and sculptural topping of the meringue.
Emblems Used as Visual Language
This tea vendor used emblems by hanging flags that were indicative of Bengali culture, which is where Darjeeling Tea is from. These flags provided context clues regarding what was being sold and where the product was grown.
As Kirshenblatt-Gimblett says, “the eyes play a critical role in stimulating appetite.” When looking at this display, the eyes definitely are bigger than the stomach, which makes you want to buy more than you can eat.
Excess is defined as an amount that is beyond what is normal or sufficient. When looking at this display of British pies, that word immediately comes to mind. There were over ten different flavors—ranging from wild boar to chicken and apple — and it was very likely that were not going to sell them all that day. However, the visual effect of this outrageous number of pies attracted everyone passing by.
The exotic nature of drinking wheat grass was portrayed through the showing-doing of the juicing process. All other smoothies were made behind the counter, but the performance of making these grass shots was highlighted and framed for those passing by.
This demonstration can be equated to Kirshenblatt-Gimblett’s concept of a “display kitchen.” According to her, the key to this form of culinary performance is “the exhibition value of labor that has been staged in a transparent workspace.” Since the work going into this drink was visible to the buyer, the experience of watching it be made was more valuable than the product itself.
Olfactory, the fish had a strong smell of the ocean that provided a sense of ‘authenticity’ and freshness. Visually, it was displayed in creative ways, such as a big fish with its mouth open wide with a small shrimp inside. Auditory, the yelling of the workers behind the counter emulated the atmosphere of fishermen coming in from a day at sea, ready to reel in their catch and sell their fish.
The butcher was clinging the knives together and changing his knife according to which section of meat he was cutting. As people passed by, he made eye contact with them and gave with a slight smile, indicating he was putting on a show as he cut the meat. He was aware of being observed, and he was showing-doing to attract potential customers through his art of cutting meat.
Incorporation of Additional Elements into the Display
The background information of the tea increased the value and integrity of the company selling the tea. By including the poster board and photos of natives picking the plants, this vendor seemed it add ‘authenticity’ to the purchase because it showed the country of origin and the organic nature in which it was grown.
Artisan food embodies creativity and uses fresh ingredients for the satisfaction of the customer. This tortelloni used fresh pumpkin, which is not a typical ingredient for pasta fillings. The uniqueness and fresh preparation of the tortelloni classified it as artisan food that highlighted the craftsmanship and artistry of the preparer.