Monday, December 12, 2011

Life Doesn't Imitate Art...It Imitates Reality TV

Partly inspired by a scene in Clint Eastwood's film Hereafter starring Matt Damon and partly as a commitment to try to do things outside the art world from time to time (not that we don't love the art world, just that we feel a need to expand our horizons occasionally), for his birthday, I bought Murat a 4.5-hour cooking class that we could take together. The scene in Hereafter that set our expectations was this one (they won't let me embed it, but you should watch it to understand the rest of this post).

Last night we finally got to take our class. Life didn't exactly imitate art in this case, however. In reality, life more imitated, well, Reality TV.

Just like in Hereafter, we unfortunately arrived late to the class (not on purpose, no), but we were met with a much chillier reception. Fair enough, I guess. But what proceeded from there left Murat and I in a near constant fit of giggling (in between bouts of being really upset at the instructor), as the other members of our class seemed to have come with the intentions of living our their own private fantasy of appearing on Iron Chef or Hell's Kitchen.

From the moment the instructor set us loose, the degree of competition and frenetic pace (which most of the other students seemed to not only thrive on but actually work to generate) completely shocked us. What the hell is going on here?, Murat whispered to me on several occassions. Indeed, this class didn't begin with a nice glass of wine (we were told absolutely no drinking until the meal was complete...which makes sense, but also was too bad as a little relaxing would have done our classmates some good), and there was no music either, unless you count the chuckles our instructor kept emitting in response to jokes only he seemed to get. There were plenty of snappish rebukes from the instructor, who seemed to be auditioning for his own cooking show, and a stunning number of furtive sneers from our unfriendly classmates that would have made the job of any producer of a reality TV show too easy. In a nutshell, it was gross and we concluded only one quarter of the way into it that it was our last cooking class at this place.

Anyway, we did eventually manage to complete (as a team with a woman who started off rather pushy but mellowed as we worked together) our task...a Carré d’Agneau Rôti aux Herbes de Provence (roast lamb with herbes de provence). When we presented it at the communal table, I felt quite looked (and by all accounts tasted) gorgeous.

And I did learn a few fascinating tidbits (like you can get the smell of diced garlic off your hands by rubbing them on stainless steel and you can reveal the ends of the bones on your rack of lamb with some twine in a swift little movement that eliminates hours of scraping with your paring knife). But what I mostly learned was that we are much better suited to the gossipy, back-stabbing, fiercely competitive realm of the art world than we are the much more hellish culinary one.

Labels: art reality tv show, art world


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry that you were a few minutes late to class! It was because the movie had so many of those trailers that you love :)

---ondine nyc

12/12/2011 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I do love my trailers!

12/12/2011 10:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Larry said...

Never heard of the stainless steel idea. Have you tried it? I heard that you can sprinkle salt on your hands (to draw out the garlic juices) before washing with soap and water.

I don't know which is more (or less) fun to watch each Wednesday on Bravo: Work of Art II, or Top Chef Texas.

12/12/2011 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Hey Larry, yes, the stainless steel trick really works. Just rub your hands on the inside of your average kitchen sink or even the faucet.

It was hard not to mention Work of Art II in this post, but as they say, if you can't say anything nice....

12/12/2011 12:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Gam said...

mmm fooood

how certain are you that just maybe this Reality Show paradigm will not infiltrate into the art world too?

I keep thinking of Mr Saltz's shift in his blog writing style, where he now talks of 'Work of art II' and the relationship upheavals there, rather then focused on the ups and downs of being immersed in viewing art as he used to seem to do.

As Larry points out, it's fun to watch, but as you demonstrate, it really can affect how we expect to act in the world.

Carré d’Agneau Rôti aux Herbes de Provence .... mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

12/12/2011 01:10:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

how certain are you that just maybe this Reality Show paradigm will not infiltrate into the art world too?

Really good...and scary...point.


12/12/2011 02:02:00 PM  
Blogger findingfabulous said...

OH I just like you guys so much - Please, please go back. You have to break this crowd. Though worlds apart this post made me feel so much better about of all the awful mommy and me classes I went to, where everyone (except terrified me) was there to gloat about what perfect maternal goddesses they already were. Thanks, and have ridiculous fun should you decide to return. You can actually buy little bars of stainless steel to hold in your hand under the faucet for that very purpose.

12/12/2011 11:31:00 PM  

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