This weeks roundtable was dedicated to the questions of sustainability and taste, including a delicious practical experiment involving various tasty ingredients.
Ana Daldon started off the discussion by introducing us to a couple of issues related to sustainability. Her presentation, entitled (Un)sustainability, took off sharing the ideas of Franz Broswimmer and his concept of ecocide. Interestingly, people threatened by such a destruction of their habitat and often will react to this by increasing their cultural effort and turning towards the gods as a last resort.
Using this as a departing point she confronted us with several unconventional solutions trying to tackle difficulties about sustainability. These solutions revolved around the idea of self-improvement rather than improvement of the world. She presented, for example, the concepts of designer Susan Suares, who developed food gained from highly processed insects, suggesting, that by changing what we eat, we could influence our habits and thereby the way resources are used.
After this Ana took us on a quick tour around the website off Billa, a partner of the Dokne doctoral project, and introduced us to the supermarkets concept of sustainability. Billa plans to expand their sustainable product line and uses very basic, consciously archaic illustrations to market this intent.
To conclude her presentation Ana made us aware of a developing research center on sustainability by the Austrian economist Fred Luks. As the center is not fully established yet, not much information on it could be gathered. The so-called neues Kompetenzzentrum might however be something to look out for in the future.
Margit Busch gently transitioned the focus of the lively discussion from the sustainability of food to its taste. Departing from a reflection upon the antinomy of will and material a short systematization of the basic and advanced sensations of taste was reached. After being reminded of the more unusual taste sensations like umami or astringency we went on to conclude the roundtable with a delightful experiment.
Margit presented the participants with a number of small culinary compositions. After tasting a bite of a combination of fruits, nuts, vegetables and sauces, the tasters were asked to pay attention to the sensations involved, to observe the varying texture of the food and were encouraged to reflect upon the possible occasion of flashbacks or mémoire involuntaire, like the one induced by Marcel Prousts famous madeleine.