Futurist meals comprised a cuisine and style of dining advocated by some members of the Futurist movement, particularly in Italy. These meals were first proposed in Marinetti and Fillià's Manifesto of Futurist Cooking, published in the Turin Gazzetta del Popolo on 28 August 1930.
The Futurist movement recognized that "men think, dream and act according to what they eat and drink" so cooking and eating needed to become subservient to the proper aesthetic experience that Futurism favored. Revolutionary in its expectations of overturning set patterns and expectations, some of its more interesting ideas for the realm of cuisine were:
No more pasta, as it causes lassitude, pessimism and lack of passion
Perfect meals requiring:
originality and harmony in table setting including all implements, food aesthetics and tastes
absolute originality in the food
Sculpted foods, including meats whose main appeal is to the eye and imagination
Abolition of the knife and fork
Use of perfumes to enhance the tasting experience
The Manifesto of Futurist Cooking also proposed that the way in which meals were served be fundamentally changed:
Some food on the table would not be eaten, but only experienced by the eyes and nose
Food would arrive rapidly and contain many flavors, but only a few mouthfuls in size
All political discussion and speeches would be forbidden
Music and poetry would be forbidden except during certain intervals
One of the proposed settings for these "perfect meals" incorporated the Futurist love of machinery: The diners would eat in a mock aircraft, whose engines' vibrations would stimulate the appetite. The tilted seats and tables would "shake out" the diners' pre-conceived notions, while their tastebuds would be overwhelmed by highly original dishes listed on aluminium cards.
Traditional kitchen equipment would be replaced by scientific equipment, bringing modernity and science to the kitchen thus eliminating the limiting. Suggested equipment included:
Ozonizers -- to give food the smell of ozone
Ultraviolet ray lamps -- activates vitamins and other "active properties"
Electrolyzers -- to decompose items into new forms and properties
Colloidal mills -- to pulverize any food item
Autoclaves, dialyzers, atmospheric and vacuum stills to cook food without destroying vitamins
Chemical indicators or analyzers to help the cook determine if sauces need more salt, sugar, or vinegar
The Italian public was not won over by Marinetti's manifesto regarding cuisine. Immediately following its publication the Italian press broke into uproar. All classes participated in the dispute that ensued. Every time pasta was served in a restaurant or a private house there was heated debate. Doctors were measured in their response, agreeing that habitual consumption of pasta was fattening and recommending a varied diet; but the Duke of Bovino, Mayor of Naples, was firmer in his views: "The angels in Paradise," he told a reporter, "eat nothing but vermicelli al pomodoro [fine spaghetti with tomato sauce]." Marinetti replied that this confirmed his suspicions about the monotony of Paradise.
The Futurists amused themselves and outraged the public by inventing preposterous new dishes, most of which shocked by their unusual combinations and exotic ingredients - for example, mortadella with nougat or pineapples with sardines. Marinetti wanted Italians to stop eating foreign food and to stop using foreign food words: a bar should be called quisibeve (literally, "here one drinks" in Italian), a sandwich should be called traidue (between-two), a maître d'hôtel a guidopalato (palate-guide), and so on. Elizabeth David, the cookery writer, comments that Marinetti's ideas about food contained a germ of common sense, but behind his jesting lay the Fascist obsession with nationalism. Marinetti wanted to prepare the Italians for war. "Spaghetti is no food for fighters," he declared.
Marinetti, Filippo Tommaso (28 August 1930), "Manifesto of Futurist Cooking", Gazzetta del Popolo
Marinetti, Filippo Tommaso, and Fillià, La Cucina Futurista, (ed. Pietro Frassica), Milan, Viennepierre Edizioni, 2009
Davidson, Alan. Oxford Companion to Food (1999). "Futurist meals", p. 327
^ a b David, Elizabeth, Italian Food, Penguin Books, 1974, pp.93-94
Marinetti, Filippo Tommaso (28 August 1930), "Manifesto della cucina futurista", Gazzetta del Popolo. Text of the manifesto from RaiLibro.