Friday, February 24, 2006

The Invention of Deconstruction


Recently, there was a fad. To my knowledge, it is in the process of fading, but still a presence nontheless. That fad has simply been known as Deconstruction. The basics of deconstruction are this: you take a recipe we all know and love, take the individual components apart and serve separately. For example, a deconstructed ice cream sundae. A shot glass of hot fudge, a bowl of maraschino cherries, a hill of chopped peanuts, and a healthy dollop of whipped cream surround a plain scoop of vanilla ice cream. And if you order this out, the deconstructed option almost always costs more than its fully constructed counterpart. A unique twist on plating to be sure, but not exactly my cup of tea. But where exactly did this originate? Food writers will likely say that the trend started in a tapas bar in Spain, or in a chic restaurant in Chicago. Perhaps the names Adrian Ferra or El Bulli will come up in a conversation on the origination of deconstruction. But who REALLY started it?

I am here today to tell you that the trend of deconstruction did not, in fact, come from the brain of a foodie genius. But rather, from a two year old child. This morning Zander requested one of his usuals, and I just gave it to him, but then I re-thought what I was giving him. I am certain that somewhere a chef was serving his 2 year old child a dish like chicken casserole, loaded with good stuff. And that child proceeded to take it apart and eat each component separately. And then that chef looked at that child, and thought of a way to make money. Deconstruction was born.

So what exactly inspired this mornings post, this mornings moment of revelation? Why it could only be the humble peanut butter and jelly sandwich, deconstructed, of course.

Zander frequently eats like this. He is a good eater, he just prefers his meals in their individual parts. Abigail is somewhat the same way. Casseroles don't fly at my house. Soups are iffy. Most often, Zander will be seen picking out individual pieces of meat, veggies, noodles, or spoons of broth. But never all at once. Pancakes topped with fresh strawberries and whipped cream must not be piled all together. The strawberries get eaten first, and if they are on top of the pancakes, it makes them yucky. And the whipped cream is an event and a rarity all by itself, why cloud that by adding a bit of strawberry or a crumb of pancake. The only food I can think of that doesn't get deconstructed first is salad. And even that...they may not take the individual pieces out, but there is a pecking order. The cucumbers get eaten first, followed by tomatoes, then the lettuce. Any remaining veggies will be picked off after that. The PB&J is eaten by Zander with a spoon. First a spoon of peanut butter, then a spoon of jelly, and then the slice of bread. occasionally he will request one of the two to be smeared on the bread, creating what he calls "A Folder" folded only into a triangle. But most often, it's individual. Gotta love that. My son is a genius.

1 comment:

AK said...

Laughing out loud -- they're clearly chefs-in-training, these two!