Rich and Skinny

Let's just put something out there front and center. I do food. I love design, but I do food. So when Karly and Erin mentioned they needed a few guest bloggers to help round out July and August while Erin was on baby vacay, my first thought was, this isn't for me. I love poring over design blogs, pondering remodeling ideas I will never have the resources to commit to, ogling furniture I have no business even considering. The idea, though, of posting on my own about design, with some modicum of authority, well that was as about out of my league as that Herman Miller LaChaise I've been eyeing. But something Erin posted the other day stuck in my head, specifically that bit about money being wasted on the rich. That got me thinking about molecular gastronomy. It's an unappetizing term for what some consider the sexiest most stylish and innovative edibles out there. They're also design-y as hell. And at about $240 a meal it's nothing to sneer at. I'm not about to argue that someone has to be clever and creative as hell to make this stuff up and to make it work. You have to be a mad scientist. I'm just saying, with all the money people are forking over for this stuff, couldn't we harness the scientific genius behind it to instead maybe, oh, I don't know, cure cancer? Make a new ozone layer? Bring back the honeybees??? I'm just sayin'.

Consider this. It's a beet. Sort of. Hailing from the epicenter of the molecular gastronomy world, El Bulli, these beets actually strike me as edible. They don't strike me as beets, but I have nothing against them... unlike what is to follow.

Here we have eggs benedict (duh) created by none other than the molecular gastro star Wylie Dufresne.

I'm not sold on those gelatinized egg spheres as food, but if it was about 3,000,000 times its edible size it would make an interesting outdoor installation piece.

Here's a fun one. This here is a sandwich. I repeat. Duh.

I didn't find enough information (besides that this was created by Chef Pascal Barbot at L'Astrance in Paris) to figure out what that is sandwiched around the foie gras, but yeah, that's foie gras. Again, sculptural? Sure. Edible? Debatable.

Now our little tour de gastro-weirdness takes us to the UK where we visit the The Fat Duck, another destination point for creepy food experiences.

This little baby is inexplicable. Why don't people label their photos?? People! Help a sister out here! What IS this?? From my perspective it's a pod of some sort, filled with coffee grounds, the tiny golf clubs sticking out of it are topped in caviar. It's not a combination that comes to mind when I think "dinner", so I'm guessing I'm wrong.

Things at The Fat Duck only continue to become more inexplicable with this one. Dry ice, beneath a bed of moss with an odd assortment of odd looking morsels in containers around it. Whatever could it be?

Obviously it's jellied quail, langoustine cream, chicken liver parfait, oak moss and truffle toast. No notes on whether one is to eat the oak moss.

At The Fat Duck you can round out your meal with this.

This iPod, nestled in shell, is your musical accompaniment for the dish entitled Sounds of the Sea. The dish is composed of seafood and seaweed on a bed of sand-like tapioca. Customers report, and I kid you not, the oyster tastes stronger and saltier when the actual sounds of the sea are piped through the iPod.

I used to think I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't jump at the chance to sample some of this stuff... just for the experience. However, recently, as I pondered a menu that's most filling entrees were beef tonge sushi and duck testicle shish kabob, both at what equalled a week's worth of groceries for myself and my husband, it occurred to me... I'd prefer an ugly old taco any day. Design is to look at for years and years to come. Food is to eat.