Do you eat to live, or are you one of those passionate souls who lives to eat? Food is certainly enjoying a high profile at present. With hit TV shows, social sites, glossy ranks of gastro-porn at every newsagent, and the return of the dinner party, many of us have headed back towards the kitchen as well as continuing our passion for dining out. Food contains an eternal contradiction. On the one hand it’s essential for life – fact in Ancient Egypt, the words for ‘bread’ and ‘life’ were the same! But food is also as subject to the vagaries of fashion as heels or hemlines. Who’d have guessed the world’s best restaurant, Noma, in Copenhagen, Denmark, would feature oxalis and Christmas tree fronds on its menu?
Now, there’s a new way for us to mull over passions of the dinner table with the release of a delicious and unique game, The Art of Conversation: Food Edition. Following the success of their original title, The Art of Conversation, creators Louise Howland and Keith Lamb have adapted the recipe to dish up new angles and avenues to think, and talk, about food, cooking, eating and dining.
TAOC serves up 300 culinary entrees on topics like food destinations, cooking classes, slow food, fusion, indulgent food, leftovers and bizarre food ideas. It includes a comprehensive guidebook to culinary communication, complete with fascinating endnotes.
It’s all about sharing conversations on food, ingredients (from abalone to zucchini), herbs, spices, wild foods, sustainability, ethical eating, favourite dishes from the classics to the cutting edge … in fact a smorgasbord for those who enjoy sharing recipes, hints and tips, remembering special meals, or planning new ones! Track food and menu changes, the rise and fall of overused ingredients (truffle oil, anyone?) and celebrity chefs, kitchen equipment from then to now, evocative fragrances and flavours that bring back times long past.
Like all TAOC editions, it’s not a quiz – it’s not about who knows the most. Rather, it’s a communication tool that draws on your own experiences, thoughts and reactions to facilitate fascinating discussions.
TAOC helps put some of our more conflicted attitudes into perspective, and focus on what really matters about what goes onto our plates and into our mouths. It is also a great way to unlock curiosity and learn about food - what it is, where it comes from, how it’s prepared and whether its effects are beneficial or otherwise.
Even wannabe foodies and reluctant eaters will love it, because let’s face it – we all eat! The essayist and wit Leigh Hunt (1778-1830) once said; “If you are ever at a loss to support a flagging conversation, introduce the subject of eating.” It’s a subject where everyone has an opinion – and plenty of experience.