Cooking is kind of a low-ceiling art.

How is cooking like other arts?

- people have taste, which differs
- people can enjoy making it
- you can pay someone to do it, or get paid to do it (of course, doing this with food is much more common than other arts)
- for better or worse, there’s a celebrity culture around it (for worse, IMO, but w/e)
- it’s all around us (music and visual arts are all around us in some form. architecture, at least.)

How is cooking unlike other arts?

- it’s very easy to understand, at least at a low level. (most people can get some enjoyment out of a fancy steak or a nice salad, even if they don’t love it, while there are lots of paintings and music that people just don’t care about.)
- we have to at least consume it ~3x/day, while you might go your whole life without going to an art museum. Similarly, most of us make it at least sometimes, while most people don’t paint/draw/play music/act/etc.
- unlike most arts, there’s a commodity aspect to it. If someone said “I’m going to make a boring painting for you every day for a year”, that would provide very little value, but if they said “I’m going to make a boring food for you every day for a year”, I mean, free food! (Soylent sells, right?)
- consumption scales badly to many people. You and friends can all listen to music together, but you can’t eat the exact same bite of food. Ok, you can all eat the same dish, but if you want 5 or 500 people to eat it you have to do drastically different things - and there is absolutely no way 5 million people can eat it. Sure, 5 million people can all eat the same recipe, but that’s a parallel with all making and admiring a Sol Lewitt instructions-drawing.
- consumption is destructive. It’s kind of buddhist in that way - feels like a sand mandala, in that destroying it is part of making it. In this way it is like live music and theater, and unlike paintings or recorded music.
- supplies are very available. Compare the number of grocery stores to the number of art/music stores!
- supplies are very perishable.
- you can’t really share it online (or on TV or in a book) at all. (At least not yet.) All you can do is share instructions and photos, which are an exceptionally pale shadow of the real thing, compared to other arts.
- it is so often made for┬ásomeone. In food and other arts, if you say “I made this art for you”, it would probably convey deep emotion. The difference is, you rarely do that with other arts.

These qualities make me kinda like it. Feels like the art I should practice more, because it’s so ephemeral and embodied. In my normal life, I get too wrapped up in making things cerebral and permanent. Also, there’s side benefits: food.


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