"The quasi-object acts as an integrator and as a differentiator. It marks the relations to the real, where the rational can’t go: where only the rite and the fetish can go, and without which the surplus would vanish and disappear. The fetish as necessity to encode and decode ciphered information, in the communication that makes a community. An intersubjective remedy commutating a quasi-object. Up to its firming as a particularly stratified object. A statue. Here death temporarily reappears in a cyclical eternal return on the linear natural path, with an angle of
contingency hollowing out predetermined directionality. Intrinsic in the DNA, as its void. Evoking a spiral. With a generic trajectory, absent from the common nature. Yet the casting off from it knows no end. In doing so one finds glues for the universal. Make it unknown, foreign; discover
and bring it back"

David Schildberger, Nudged Viands, 2016


"Like every sort of taste, it unites and separates. Being the product of the con­ditionings associated with a particular class of conditions of existence, it unites all those who are the product of similar conditions while distin­guishing them from all others. And it distinguishes in an essential way, since taste is the basis of all that one has--people and things--and all
that one is for others, whereby one classifies oneself and is classified by others Tastes ( i.e. , manifested preferences) are the practical affirmation of an inevitable difference. It is no accident that, when they have to be justi­fied, they are asserted purely negatively, by the refusal of other tastes. In matters of taste, more than anywhere else, all determination is negation; and tastes are perhaps first and foremost distastes, disgust provoked by horror or visceral intolerance ( 'sick-making') of the tastes of others. 'De gustibus non est disputandum': not because 'tous les gouts sont dans la nature', but because each taste feels itself to be natural-and so it almostis, being a habitus--which amounts to rejecting others as unnatural and therefore vicious. Aesthetic intolerance can be terribly violent."

Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction, A Social Critique on the Judgement of Taste, 1984


"No Japanese dish is endowed with a centre (the alimentary centre implied in the west by the rite which consists of arranging the meal, of surrounding or covering the article of food); here everything is the ornament of another ornament: first of all because on the table, on the tray, food is never anything but a collection of fragments, none of which appears privileged by an order of ingestion; to eat is not tO respect a menu (an itinerary of dishes), but to select, with a light touch of the chopsticks, sometimes one color, sometimes another, depending on a kind of inspiration which appears in its slowness as the detached, indirect accompaniment of the conversation (which itself may be extremely silent); and then because this food-and this is its originality -unites in a single time that of its fabrication and that of its consumption: sukiyaki, an interminable dish to make, to consume, and, one might say, to "converse," not by any technical difficulty but because it is in its nature to exhaust itself in the course of its cooking, and consequently to repeat itself-sukiyaki has nothing marked about it except its beginning (that tray painted with foodstuffs brought to the table); once "started," it no longer has moments or distinctive sires: it becomes decentered, like an uninterrupted text."

Roland Barthes, Empire of Signs, 1993


"Crowing delightedly that our morning hunt had already proved fruitful, my friends and I plowed on deeper into the woods, following Giorgio and Bruno, and, of course, Mina (she of the extraordinary nose). Our first tartufo, now comfy and safe in the bulky left pocket of my hunting vest, jostled against my leg. Unable to resist, I stuck my hand in to make sure it was still there.
Everyone knows that truffles are hard to find. In the forests of France and Italy, the truffle trade has long been closeted in as much stealth (blame zealous tax collectors and tax-evading hunters) as Colombian cocaine. The world’s most expensive fungi, they develop under mounds of dirt near the roots of oak, hazelnut and other trees, and have been prized for centuries for their pungent aroma and full-on, robust taste. Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, the 18th-century equivalent of today’s celebrity chefs, famously called truffles the “diamonds of the kitchen.”

Helen Cooper, Searching for Truffles, a Treasure That Comes in Black, NY Times, September 9, 2013

The Delicacy

Friend, remember how you showed us beasts love beauty?
We were wading in your lake with bluegills and you said,
Be careful, you will lose your beauty marks

To their little jaws. We were a delicacy. From us they purchased
The darkest part of the skin, only what contrasts on us.
And it was more than a pinch or sting,

It’s a sensation of hunger
That makes us spring off the bottom and swim out deep
And safe. “No blue stripes on cheeks; no red on fins;

Old individual’s belly coppery red or brassy.”
As others see you, I think these indicate,
Who would have you all one shade then wouldn’t have you.

At your full table later, over muskellunge and lemon,
We read in the book the fish that liked us
Has certain maxillaries “wholly wanting.” Your gourmet bluegill:

It lives in the eye of the beholder, it swims the vitreous
Humor, would eat even your blind spot!
But we think we can paddle out there until all

Goes dark, and we are wholly desirable, and too much.

Sandra McPherson, “The Delicacy” from Patron Happiness, 1983