Halibut poached in truffle butter. Roast pork belly and celeriac root puree. Maybe even some of Momofuku’s Crack Pie for dessert. It’s not New York’s latest must-try tasting menu. It’s a meal in a can.
Called “All in One,” this murky Jello mold of gastronomy is part of a dissertation on consumerism by Christopher Godfrey. He wanted to show how a sales gimmick can go so far that it ruins a product’s core experience. So he started with an incredible 12-course menu:
- Selection of local cheeses with sourdough bread
- Pickled Kobe beef with charred strawberry
- Ricotta ravioli with a soft egg yolk
- Shiitake mushroom topped with filled peppers
- Halibut poached in truffle butter in a coconut crepe
- Risotto foraged ramps, prosciutto and fresh parmesan
- French onion soup with fresh thyme and gruyere cheese
- Roast pork belly and celeriac root puree
- Palate cleanser, pear ginger juice
- Ribeye steak with grilled mustard greens
- Crack pie with milk ice cream on a vanilla tuile
- French canele with a malt barley and hazelnut latte
Then he pureed each course in a blender, mixing in a bit of gelatin. From here, Godfrey built the canned creation by channeling the worst culinary tendency of 1950s housewives, carefully spooning layer after layer of Jello stuff, allowing each an hour to set before ladling on the next. And when finished, he really had created the perfect example of his thesis: By translating haute cuisine into canned food, the appeal of both the cuisine and the can were lost (we’re just left sick to our stomachs).
“We all buy into gimmicks whether it be ‘buy one get one free,’ ‘all in one,’ or ‘one size fits all,'” Godfrey explains. “The 12-course meal encourages viewers to question the novelty nature of our consumer culture. Just because it is a deal, does it actually provide the most beneficial option?”
Yet Godfrey may have done too good of a job building his consumerist satire. Because ironically, in creating a product that no one would want to buy, Godfrey actually developed an enticing novelty product that a whole lot of people would like to buy.
“I’ve had emails from all around the world asking if it’s available to buy. From single cans to cases of it!” Godfrey admits. “I had never thought about it being a commercial product, but apparently there is a market for it, so who knows!”