The raw and the cooked

Speaking of French linguists

Depending on your age, you might know “The Raw and the Cooked” as the album by shortlived pop success Fine Young Cannibals.

But that album title was a reference to the book by Claude Levi-Strauss, and the raw and the cooked was his device for discussing the relationship between the natural world and the cultural world. Cooking being the metaphorical process through which raw, natural elements are transformed into cultural elements. Or, as one academic review put it,

In mythological thought, the cooking of food is, in effect, a form of mediation between nature and society, between life and death, and between heaven and earth.

Eureka – I can misappropriate this scholarly idea to justify my post on Top Chef and Like Water for Chocolate and the observation that cooking “cultures” the food – but if the culture (or the social circle) in which the food is cooked is broken, the food winds up broken as well.

It also reminds me of sushi, which Levi-Strauss might lump in with poison as “a point of isomorphic coincidence between nature and culture.” Or not.

This train of thought is probably more raw than cooked. (Or as Will Ferrell says in Old School, “Okay, not quite sure where I was going with that…”)


5 thoughts on “The raw and the cooked

  1. i’m missing top chef cause the hotel doesn’t have it as one of the channels…that sucks, again i will be behind on the top chef discussions…i don’t know how i feel about this season…

  2. oh, and there is no “full” like “sushi full.” best thing about living in japan, the cheapest sushi was better than the best sushi here in the states…

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