René Redzepi of NOMA restaurant in Copenhagen is credited for the New Nordic Movement in food preparation like Alice Waters of Chez Panisse in Berkeley is credited for the Slow Food Movement. The name NOMA is an abbreviation of Nordic and Mad (which means food in Danish). The New Nordic Movement looks to integrate not only food from local farmers and artisans but to include any edible leaf, plant, or seafood that is right there, in the backyard of Denmark. To be picked, handled, and served, cooked or raw to their guests. I would call it Wild to Table.
No doubt that René is working with cultural sensibilities through his innovative and visionary cuisine. The process of eating becomes an aesthetic and artistic experience. It speaks directly to your senses. Perceiving with our senses means we tap into our emotions, listen to them and spit them right back out by expressing how we feel. Sitting down to a table to eat, whether enjoying haute cuisine, fast food or anything in between, is an act that speaks to the senses.
Edvard Munch (pronounced Moonk) is a Norwegian expressionist painter who lived from 1863 to 1944. His most famous painting is The Scream from 1893. He was an extremely prolific painter and printmaker and expressed his sensibilities mostly through figurative work but also through landscapes. I want to point out the following works that each represents an emotion:
Anxiety, Jealousy, and Melancholy
Edvard often placed his figures outside in the landscape. Figures reflecting and reflected in the landscape. Figures of Nordic nature and Nordic sensibilities. The unbroken bond between human emotions and their environment.
With his famous image The Scream his figure lost the human form completely and became a being of raw emotion. A being stripped to its senses. A being by, from, and of the surrounding landscape. A chameleon absorbing its environment.
How we eat and feel is intricately tied into our environment. How we experience food in all its forms is inevitably tied to our senses. We are but a link in the food chain, starting with the landscape surrounding us, soil and water, that supplies us with energy and feeds us.
I find it intriguing to compare René and Edvard. Both are artists, both are expressing the bond with their immediate surroundings, one through the preparation of food, the other through the process of painting. Perhaps, they teach us how to satisfy our emotions or at least be aware of them, listen to them and spit them back out.