Saturday, October 29, 2011

Baxter Territory3 Cooking_Dining

Much of the world is entering the routine of long work hours and reduced domestic experience. The result of this has been the proliferation of small condos and apartments that favor lives that rarely come home. Due to the size of the kitchen and dining space, these homes would never be thought of as spaces of hosting guests, and just having a dinner with extended family becomes an unbearable chore.

Recently, in response to the fast food culture, a counter movement towards slow food has emerged. This movement represents a different philosophy on the importance of the dining and kitchen space and their centrality to the culture of domesticity. It is interesting how a simple change in the philosophy about the food we eat could radically alter the structure of the homes we live in.

Directly related to this, I'm interested in how this relates to diplomacy. Diplomatic tact will often/usually involve bringing those we must negotiate with into our domestic space. Through this act, we deepen ties with those whose relationships are most important to us, and thus personalize the decisions that were only political prior to the exposure of our personal lives. This is one of the most sensitively orchestrated moments in diplomacy but also the most personal and real. We should ask ourselves what is the domestic experience necessary to make us comfortable with a new acquaintance whose initial relationship is likely an extremely formal and uncomfortable one? Is it the contemporary bachelor pad, watching the local sporting event on the wall mounted flat screen or a space that privileges a more cozy communal setting with (good) food and (relevant) conversation?

The rapid lifestyle that has forced us to all but abandon our most important dining culture here in the states has begun to be completely abandoned in the next wave of modernization happening in Asia. What effect will the domestic space that represents lifestyles of all work and no play have on our ability to be diplomatic and create pertinent relationships with the people we need to know better in order to coexist? Have we completely exported the ability to host guests from the domestic experience to restaurants. As a result, have we lost our ability to personalize relationship building across impassible cultural and class boundaries that divide us? Is the domestic space I speak of only important for the richer classes because they have to manage these relationships or is the cozy domestic space a universal necessity?

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