Jennifer: It has been one hundred years since the publication of the original Futurist Manifesto. One hundred years, since the founding of the Futurism movement by Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti. On February 20 1909, Marinetti published a list of dos and don’ts for the industrial age on the front page of the Parisian newspaper “Le Figaro”. His eloquent piece of prose advocated technology, speed, youth, communication and information. It shocked, irritated and amused the public- and the Futurist movement spread like wild-fire.
Futurism impacted even cuisine. “Cucina Futurista” was revolutionary, completely discarding the bourgeois tastes of the late 19th century. Marinetti wrote that “men think, dream and act according to what they eat and drink” and so believed that the aesthetic experience should dominate cooking and eating. He advocated absolute originality in food, some of which was prepared not to be eaten, but to be a visual and olfactory experience. Scientific equipment should replace traditional kitchen equipment, to further possibilities in cuisine. The manifesto proposed using ozonisers to give the food the smell of ozone, UV ray lamps to activate vitamins and chemicals to indicate the need for more salt, sugar or vinegar. Technology should also be incorporated into the dining experience. Marinetti suggested consulting a menu on aluminium cards and dining in a mock aircraft, whose engines’ vibrations would arouse the senses and stimulate the appetite. “Cucina Futurista” stated that pasta induces lassitude and pessimism. Needless to say, many Italians rejected futurist cooking at the suggestion that pasta be eliminated from the diet.
While the aggressively modern Futurist Manifesto advocated violence and was a prequel to Italian Fascism, it is at the same time an awe-inspiring example of creativity and innovation. One hundred years on, we can still admire Marinetti’s passion for a future he truly believed in.