Cooking or Games of Stage & Set

Via Naomi Duguid

Nigella Lawson “Home Cooking Can Be a Feminist Act”

Real cooking is what happens in the home. Restaurant cooking can be fabulous, inspiring, transcendent, and oh-so-marvelous in many ways, but for me it will always partly belong to the realm of theater. Furthermore, the restaurant kitchen insists and relies on conformity; the spontaneity of the home cook is by contrast gloriously anarchic. Don’t apologize for that: revel in it.

That anarchic feeling is not alien to plating. Arranging the food beautifully. Appreciating the bowl that presents the mashed potatoes…

Nigel Slater has always been an inspiration for plating ideas for the home cook. See

I first became aware of micro-theater via the work of Samuel R. Delany… and have been delighted by Brian McHale’s analyses…

My second example is really double, for in Samuel Delany’s novel Trouble on Triton (originally published as Triton, 1976) there are two conspicuous structures en abyme, each differently oriented. One of these occurs near the end of the first chapter, when Delany’s protagonist, Bron Helstrom, stumbles upon a “micro-theater” performance on the street of his domed home city of Triton, and becomes its sole spectator; later he will be recruited, without his knowledge, into the cast, and will help to stage a micro-theater spectacle for someone else. Extrapolated from contemporary (mid-seventies) performance-art and street theater, micro-theater is designed for an audience of one. Like “Flawless Play Restored” in Sorrentino’s Mulligan Stew, it seems to reinvent aspects of the Stuart court masque — not only, as in Sorrentino, the masque’s ontological heterogeneity, but also its literal and figurative orientation toward a single privileged spectator. In the case of court masque, that privileged spectator was typically the monarch. Delany’s micro-theater democratizes masque, in the sense that anyone including a nobody like Bron Helstrom, can occupy the privileged spectatorial position. Micro-theater, then, models en abyme one aspect of a reader’s engagement with the text: it models reading as an individual, solitary experience. Moreover, that experience is an immersive one; like Gibson’s cyberspace in this respect, micro-theater models reading as absorption, as losing oneself in fiction.

Trouble on Triton‘s second structure en abyme makes its initial appearance at the beginning of the second chapter, significantly juxtaposed with the micro-theater of the first. This is the complicated hologrammic board-game called vlet […]

From Brian McHale “En Abyme: Internal Models and Cognitive Mapping” in A Sense of the World: Essays on Fiction, Narrative, and Knowledge edited by John Gibson, Wolfgang Huemer, Luca Pocci.

Which is to return to complicate the relations of “home” and “theater”; “cook” and “game”. Ever deviate from a recipe? You were practicing a kind of game. There is brinksmanship there. Certainly a coup de théâtre.

And so for day 2553

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