This last weekend saw the twenty-fifth
The topic under discussion this year was The Egg; star of the show was undoubtedly Prof Hervé This whose presentation on Molecular Gastronomy, complete with props of potentially explosive egg whites, brought the house down. I have never seen spread sheets excite so much delight. Wild hair, escaping shirt tails, flailing arms, comedy accent, we were entranced.
Papers were presented in parallel sessions so you had to make hard choices. I thought the participants would be an earnest and academic lot, intimidating as an assembly. They are serious, but not earnest, amateurs in the best sense of the word, and there were some fine presentations. Among those I saw I loved ‘Creating with Arctic Eggs’ given by Zona Spray Starks, about the fish eggs of the
Carolin Young has a wonderful project to bring Salvador Dali’s idea for a giant hard boiled egg to fruition. Participants got into Blue Peter mode and stayed up half the night to make a papier maché model of the mould for this creation, which it is reckoned will take 153,400 eggs to make. The idea is to separate the eggs and whites and make a giant hard boiled egg. I had a really interesting discussion with a scientist about whether it would actually stand up once out of the mould, or whether it would collapse under its own weight. I think this pondering is an extension of the artistic idea. Prof This has however offered to provide a spray-on calcified surface to offer protection. This we have to see!
The people who came to the Symposium were an absolute delight. Please take a look at Jake Tilson’s book 'A Tale of 12 Kitchens' ( Weidenfeld & Nicolson) because you will love it. Not only did he write it, he designed the whole thing too, down to an original typeface. It is colourful and intriguing and begs to be read. I will be reviewing it in a later post.
Jeffery Steingarten was there and although my heart was a-flutter I did go and chat to him. Actually I went down on one knee.
So if you come next year you too will get to prop up the bar with Raymond Sokolov! Please come. All the people that write to me on this blog would love the Symposium. It’s open to all, the place is a gem, so just boogie on down to