Nov 8, 2012

Sometimes, the Art is in the Cooking

Unbelievably riveting—yes, I think that's the right word—12 minute video of two Hiroshima line-cooks creating seven servings of Okonoymiyaki. According to Wikipedia:
Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き o-konomi-yaki?) is a Japanese savoury pancake containing a variety of ingredients. The name is derived from the word okonomi, meaning "what you like" or "what you want", and yaki meaning "grilled" or "cooked" (cf. yakitori and yakisoba). Okonomiyaki is mainly associated with Kansai or Hiroshima areas of Japan, but is widely available throughout the country. Toppings and batters tend to vary according to region. Tokyo okonomiyaki is usually smaller than a Hiroshima or Kansai okonomiyaki.
As far as I can make out, the ingredients of these particular okonomiyaki include a pancake, herbs, cabbage, sprouts, green onions, noodles, bacon, oysters (or squid?), eggs, and various dressings. The whole thing is layered and perfectly timed. This, I think, is what makes this video fascinating, what makes these men's actions art—the timing. They are as coordinated as dancers. And the fact that this preparation goes on and on and on—as do the precisely layered ingredients–only adds to the magic:

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"Art is our chief means of breaking bread with the dead." —W. H. Auden