anti-pasta and autarky
February 20, 2014 8:00 AM   Subscribe

In 1929, Italian artist (author of The Futurist manifesto) Filippo Tommaso Marinetti opened a restaurant, La Taverna del Santo Palato [Tavern of the Holy Palate] in Turin. In 1930/31, Marinetti went on a polemical crusade against pasta, decrying it as holding the Italian people back.
In 1932, he wrote La Cuicina Futurista [The Futurist Cookbook]. Part manifesto, part cookbook, all promotional, it contained a host of sensational delights, like "Chicken Fiat": chicken roasted with steel ball bearings, on a bed of whipped cream, as well as desciptions of banquets, and a recounting of his success against pasta.

Some of these recipies may be more difficult than others: Drum Roll Of Colonial Fish
A group of soldiers who at three o’clock on a January afternoon will have to get into a lorry to enter the line of fire at four, or go up in an aeroplane to bomb cities or counter-attack enemy flights, would seek in vain the perfect preparation for these in the grieving kiss of a mother, of a wife, of children or in re-reading passionate letters. A dreamy walk is equally inappropriate. So is the reading of an amusing book. Instead these fighters sit down round a table where they are served a ‘DRUM ROLL OF COLONIAL FISH’: Poached mullet marinated for twenty-four hours in a sauce of milk, rosolio liqueur, capers and red pepper. Just before serving the fish open it and stuff it with date jam interspersed with discs of banana and slices of pineapple. It will then be eaten to a continuous rolling of drums.
Futurist cuisine has inspired some recent attempts: Deperitivo and Fire In The Mouth cocktails, Aerofood, a Futurist Banquet at the British Library.
See some recent recreations at Contropastasciutta, from MeFi Projects.
posted by the man of twists and turns (25 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite

Oh god, The Futurists, so criminally underdiscussed.

I HIGHLY recommend this new biography of Gabriele D'Annuzio
posted by The Whelk at 8:07 AM on February 20 [3 favorites]

“When the flesh has fully absorbed the flavor of the mild steel balls, the chicken is served with a garnish of whipped cream.”

I have stainless steel balls, I wonder if they'll work?
posted by Floydd at 8:09 AM on February 20 [1 favorite]

dear The Whelk,
I am, &c.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:13 AM on February 20 [1 favorite]

posted by The Whelk at 8:14 AM on February 20 [2 favorites]

From the book:

Italian Breasts in the Sunshine: Two half spheres of almond paste, with a fresh strawberry at the center or each, sprinkled with black pepper.

....I'd totally eat that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:16 AM on February 20 [2 favorites]

See also Mike Patton's Pranzo Oltranzista
posted by symbioid at 8:18 AM on February 20

I really want to try that Fire In The Mouth
posted by The Whelk at 8:18 AM on February 20 [1 favorite]

I once contemplated posting about art-related cookbooks with La Cuicina Futurista and Salvador Dalí’s Les Diners de Gala in mind… but then I couldn’t think of any other examples. Anyone know of others? I suppose Warhol’s Wild Raspberries might count too.
posted by misteraitch at 8:22 AM on February 20

I've seen these Marinetti excerpts before and I'm still not sure they're not an elaborate prank by Chris Onstad.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:24 AM on February 20 [5 favorites]

Dubbed “Throat Explosion,” it consists of “a pellet of Parmesan cheese steeped in Marsala.” Immediately upon eating this “solid liquid” even the most reluctant warriors — or “meat to be butchered,” as the Futurists urged them to call themselves — felt courage enough “to rush like lightning to put their gas masks on.”
posted by The Whelk at 8:36 AM on February 20

Dubbed “Throat Explosion,”

"It don't say nothing about 'Lark's vomit' on the box!"
posted by yoink at 8:40 AM on February 20 [3 favorites]

Les Diners de Gala is amazing. Someone please buy me a copy.
posted by Juliet Banana at 9:08 AM on February 20

So he was the 1930's Ferran Adrià?
posted by Dr. Twist at 9:20 AM on February 20

If Ferran Adrià was a fascist, yes.
posted by murphy slaw at 9:57 AM on February 20 [2 favorites]

Wow, I asked a question about this cookbook a while back. And got some great answers.
posted by Wavelet at 9:57 AM on February 20

Oh god, The Futurists, so criminally underdiscussed.

It's true. For all the attention they got, the Vorticists never managed to create a short-lived republic, and have left us no recipes at all.
posted by kewb at 9:59 AM on February 20 [2 favorites]

I have stainless steel balls, I wonder if they'll work?

Sure they will...IF YOU WANT IT TO BE WRONG!!!

And if that was a reproductive system pun, I apologize...
posted by Billiken at 10:05 AM on February 20

Oh god, The Futurists, so criminally underdiscussed.

Hal Duncan made them a semi-villainous political movement in Vellum and Ink. I don't recall him considering their cocktails, however.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:18 AM on February 20

"Faster, we must go faster"
posted by clavdivs at 10:42 AM on February 20 [2 favorites]

They'll take my pasta when they pry it from my cold, dead hands.
posted by mondo dentro at 11:05 AM on February 20 [2 favorites]

The Futurists are underdiscussed, but they're also inherently difficult to discuss. Their underlying beliefs are just so ghastly, they were so radically on the wrong side of history, and yet, obviously, they had no idea in the pre WWI era, at least, just what horrors would be unleashed in the names of the causes they espoused that they leave one in a kind of moral embarrassment.

In a way, there's a kind of delicious irony that a group of people so devoted to a kind of hypermachismo vision of their historical destiny, ringing in the new age of the war-machine-man, should primarily be remembered for a cute painting of a dachshund in motion.
posted by yoink at 2:00 PM on February 20 [7 favorites]


I would disagree, but only because I think that when you say "their" beliefs, "they" were so radically etc. etc. you are probbaly talking about Marinetti, their theorist.

If we just look at the painters, the views held by Balla, Boccioni, Carra', Severini, Ruffolo were quite diverse, and not necessraily so extreme. Yes, they all signed the Manifesto, but arguably that was more of an aesthetic document, and Marinetti went off the rails on other subjects _after_ that. Also, he was then lionised by the Fascists, made an Academic, etc. etc and ended up propping up the regime, but at that point -I would argue- his credibility had been shot.

My US$0.02, at any rate. Any discussion about the Futurists is bound to drag me into it.
posted by MessageInABottle at 2:36 AM on February 21 [3 favorites]

Yes, they all signed the Manifesto

You're not wrong to draw distinctions between Marinetti and the Futurist artists, but that's what I'm talking about when I talk of the moral embarrassment the Futurists pose. It is very, very hard not to feel like you're engaging in special pleading when you start down this road of "well, sure, they signed this war-fetishizing manifesto which we can trace directly to fascist militarism...but, you know, they didn't really mean it..." I'm speaking as someone who has, in fact, often made that argument and who does really love a lot of the art (perhaps especially the sculpture) produced by the Futurists. But it's a damned uncomfortable position.
posted by yoink at 7:29 AM on February 21

Italian Futurism, 1909–1944: Reconstructing the Universe - "The Guggenheim's new exhibition presents a holistic view of the avant-garde art movement and its revolutionary ideals"
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:19 PM on February 23 [1 favorite]

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