Accepted Paper:

Snail and nasturtium: embodying the north through food narration  


Hanne Pico Larsen (Columbia University )

Paper short abstract:

I look at food as storytelling and follow a Swedish snail to the kitchen of the Danish gourmet restaurant noma. The chef explains the creative process behind the dish: It all started with the nasturtium, a tasty edible flower. Noma wanted to serve it as a dish, but something was missing – a snail.

Paper long abstract:

Within the culinary world, food narratives created for consumers have become more and more important. Foodies treasure food that is delicious, but they also want food that is authentic - foods that are simple, made from the heart, and with history and tradition to back them up. In addition to history and tradition, the story about the food has to be interesting. Consumers want to know where the food comes from, who grew it and how it was gathered before coming to the kitchen to be prepared and brought to the table. Food has to taste good, but the story also has to display good taste. In the New Nordic Cuisine, strong narratives about the locally grown, terroir-dependent ingredients, underscores the idea that we are where we eat.

I propose a model based on the idea that a meal at noma can be read as a (cyclical) three-stage process of embodiment and narration. When the dish at noma is put in front of the consumer, it has already been embodied and narrativized twice. It has been collected by the chef, interpreted and re-created in the kitchen. Through the final dish the multiple layers of food narration unfolds. Terroir is made out of terroir - in the process it become a meta-terroir. Through the creation of strong narratives, which intentionally places the consumer in the middle of the tasty Nordic terroir the consumer can, by eating the snail in a nasturtium at noma, embody the North and become part of the meta-terroir-narrative.

Panel P13
Food styles: circulating creative stories of local food culture