Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Diasporic Dining XXVIII: Feeling His Neurogastronomic Juices

You’ve heard of neuroeconomics, neuro law and a host of other disciplines which try to isolate areas of the brain that are involved in undertaking  particular types of thinking or emoting. Neurogastronomy is the latest entry into the neuro sweepstakes and it’s the “brain” child of Miguel Sanchez Romera, a neurologist who has named a restaurant after himself, and whose pretensions, which include a $245 prix fixe menu, have provoked the ire of one time Times restaurant critic now Op Ed columnist Frank Bruni (“Dinner and Derangement,” NYT, 10/17/11). Here is a quote from the restaurant’s web site: “Neurogastronomy embodies a holistic approach to food by means of a thoughtful study of the organoleptic properties of each ingredient. The result is a natural cuisine driven by the importance of neurosensory perceptions, the taste-memory and the emotions of food.”  Some restaurants get bad reviews, but few get lambasted on the editorial page of the paper of record. Bruni’s wrath was such that he wrote a an op-ed piece about it proclaiming how the restaurant exemplified “the way our culture’s food madness tips into food psychosis.” “While blazers are optional at Romera,” Bruni remarked, “straitjackets would be a fine idea.” Though Bruni’s biting humor might not spare Dr. Romera’s feelings, there’s a certain poetic justice in this fillip against a provider who doesn’t spare his patrons’ purses. Bruni’s verdict on Romera is a kind of culinary Sharia since it hits Dr.Romera where it hurts. But Bruni’s Inquisition is a breath of fresh air at a time when it’s increasingly difficult to find simple well cooked food at moderate prices. Food has become like the emperor’s new clothes. People actually fall over each other paying exorbitant prices for increasingly microscopic portions, while this time Chicken Little may turn out to be right. The sky is falling.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.