Guardami mangiare – mukbang

L’Asia mi affascina molto. Ogni tanto ho parlato del Giappone, dei sapori e della cultura, di un paese che ho sognato tanto da ragazzina attraverso i libri e che poi quando ci sono stata da grande mi ha stregato.Oggi vi racconto di un fenomeno che come molte altre cose dell’Asia, mi lascia a bocca a aperta, stupefatta, al punto da sentire chiara una voce nella mia testa con un forte accento romanesco che fa: “ma che, davero???”. (vedi sotto *)

Il MUKBANG. Ovvero mangiare in webcam a pagamento (eating + broadcasting). Spopola dal 2009 e si è originato in Corea del Sud (sud è una precisazione superflua perché al nord non possono neanche pensare, figuratevi usare internet.. ma comunque per precisione geografica non fa mai male chiarire).

Ci sono questi personaggi -i BJ broadcasting jockey- che si mettono lì davanti alla webcam, a volte cucinano e poi mangiano, altre volte mangiano e basta, per ore di fila. Ogni tanto chattano live con i propri spettatori tra un risucchio di zuppa e una masticata sonora. (*Per esempio fare rumori col cibo è tra le cose che in Asia sono socialmente accettate e da noi socialmente da evitare). Con le dita unte.

Sono dei personaggi stravaganti ma anche persone abbastanza nella media, persone comuni insomma. Una delle più famose BJ è giovanissima e anche molto bizzarra e giustamente si concia con look stravaganti da cartone animato in perfetta coerenza asiatica manga/anime.

Ma è magra! Nonostante mangi come ci si aspetterebbe da un lottatore di sumo, o da un reduce dell’isola dei famosi, o da un emiliano qualsiasi a pranzo la domenica… E già qui mi viene qualche dubbio sul messaggio che passa e che può essere negativo.

Poi onestamente sapere che i più seguiti guadagnano fino a 10.000 dollari al mese mi sconvolge un po’.

Noi siamo il paese del “cibo come strumento sociale” per eccellenza, i contratti di lavoro, il business, le più delicate discussioni di famiglia, si fanno tutte a tavola. Se porti il fidanzato a conoscere la famiglia è per pranzo o per cena, non certo per il tè!

Invece in Asia dove vige una cultura isolazionista e dove la competizione in tutti i campi -incluso quello sociale- è molto pesante, guardare un altro mentre mangia lo si fa probabilmente anche per compagnia, per scacciare la solitudine, oltre che per voyerismo e qualche altra patologia psichica (a parte gli scherzi in realtà il tasso di suicidi in Corea è altissimo)…

Ma da noi non funzionerebbe mai. Se anche dovesse interessare a qualcuno qui da noi io mangerei volentieri a pagamento!

Oppure in alternativa e come versione sequel potrei filmarmi mentre cerco di perdere tutti i chili che ho accumulato mangiando.

Il cibo nasconde le nostre ansie della società moderna e tecnologica, rivela strani feticismi.

Nel cibo troviamo le consolazioni che i rapporti sociali non offrono (più).

Conosco persone che non vanno a vivere da sole pur potendoselo permettere perché hanno paura di mangiare da soli e quindi stanno ancora coi genitori.

Dopo il porn normale, il foodporn è uno dei termini più cliccati e hashtaggati del web! Dai programmi di cucina alle foto che facciamo dei piatti al ristorante per poi condividerle è tutto un eccitamento dei sensi. Perverso ma lecito.

C’è una sorta di apatia sociale in tutto questo, forse siamo troppo apatici per fare le cose noi da protagonisti che dobbiamo colmare i vuoti guardando gli altri farle. Cucinare, mangiare, il prossimo livello sarà guardare gente che dorme.

Adesso c’è addirittura un programma in cui si guardano le persone guardare la TV. Guardare la TV è già il massimo dell’inattività di per sé, se viene poi portata al cubo perché guardi gli altri guardare… non rimane che una radice cubica della nostra essenza, un numero infinitamente piccolo e insignificante che rappresenta la nostra esistenza. 

Buon appetito.



Restaurant Day arrives in Zurich!

It’s the 19 of May 2012 and getting up at the first light of a promising day, I just grab a yogurt: we have a big, long, fat day in front: RESTAURANT DAY first time in ZURICH! restaurant day was started in Finland

I find this is sinply a great idea. One of those things that alike couchsurfing or bookcrossing, just makes me believe in human nature again. Ah sorry, but I did not tell you yet how it works. So basically you register on the website and decide to turn your flat into a restaurant: choose what to cook, a opening time and a price and that’s it, people you don’t know will just come to eat at your place. Isn’t it awesome? Since I take things always quite seriously, I came home from work with printouts ordered in an opening time sequence: I am going for a marathon!!! Obviously being the first time I attend such event, I want to get a good feeling of it trying out different places, and thanks God I got some  good stomach company! (anyway I don’t have friends on diet, or better, people on diet are not my friends!) First stop at 12.00 me and Neil we go to discover what a “folzschnitten” is. I tried to google it, but the results weren’t satisfying, so I need to see it with my own eyes, or better my taste buds want to! We arrive in a lovely garden with benches populated by young couples with kids. The table cloth is a long drawing sheet where we can express our creativity (the 2 years old kid next to me is with no surprise a much better artist) coffee is good and the dish is yummy (Neil particularly impressed by the rhubarb that comes with it). Most important is that everyone is just very friendly so we enjoy the chat. We move on to another sweet pit-stop with tasty cakes (one above all the florida key lime pie) great: plenty of new ideas for my own cooking challenges! Then we get Mark on board and move to apero time in the garden. Two great chefs as hosts serving gourgeous stuff and fresh lemonade! And untill here we get the company of Nina and Jonas: reporter and photographer witnessing this day (their plan is even more ambitious than ours: 12 stops and biking in between!). 19.00 and it’s time for tabouleh! In this flat they took seriously the restaurant concept with 3 nice little tables like in a small trattoria -Herzig! After a second pit-stop we close this day with a visit to the Ron’s Trattoria (it’s actually thanks to Ron if I discovered this initiative! we are too late for the spaghetti, but we get a free painting exposition, music and the beer cost simply as much as you want to give!

The great b-side effect of all this wanderig and eating is actually getting lost and discover new part of the city I have never been to! I can go to bed with a nice feeling: mankind is generous and open, good job Zurich! And who knows, maybe at the next date I am gonna open a restaurant too!

Attraversiamo – eat pray love

Maybe just because i am in this mood, and I just quit my job for real, and for real I am going travelling to Asia, I simply loved this movie. Maybe, yes, but also because besides the romance and the pictoresque images of this american movie, I recognized myself, and all the time that a story is able to open a door in my head I can’t avoid to love it.

“To find the balance you want, this is what you must become. You must keep your feet grounded so firmly on the earth that it’s like you have 4 legs instead of 2. That way, you can stay in the world. But you must stop looking at the world through your head. You must look through your heart, instead. That way, you will know God.”

At the beginnng of the movie Liz opens up her box with all her dreams and wishes about travelling and journeys and she takes the courage to go, leave, break everything she had known before. She wrote a piece about her past (unhappy) love experience called “permeable membrane” and i got immediately touched by it:
“If I love you, I will carry for you all your pain, I will assume for you all your debts (in every definition of the word), I will protect you from your own insecurity, I will protect upon you all sorts of good qualities that you have never actually cultivated in yourself and I will buy Christmas presents for your entire family. I will give you the sun and the rain, and if they are not available, I will give you a sun check and a rain check. I will give you all this and more, until I get so exhausted and depleted that the only way I can recover my energy is by becoming infatuated with someone else.”

the movie

This is the journey we have in front, all of us, nowadays. When love is not imposed by our parents in our consumists societies (pretty different from the destiny of the indian friend of Liz, who has to get married at 17 with someone she does not know at all, and she just can figure out after how to live with it and find happiness)  and we pass from one boyfriend to another like changing pair of jeans. If it doesn’t work we just go for a new one, commitment lost his real sense, maybe is just too difficult, maybe is just not possible anymore with the lives we live now in the western world. We are surrounded and overwhealmed by opportunities and freedom, so we are paralized. And is not like we do not love, or we do not feel. We do throw ourselves into these stories, but we do it so much, so eager to believe that romance and happy ending still exist, that we just consume and burn them all, too fast. So we turn to the next one, and so we grow. We go underneath new layers of our personalities. And so the real journey begins.

“The only thing more unthinkable than leaving was staying; the only thing more impossible than staying was leaving.”

Eat is fot IT= ITALY. I see the movie and I am proud of my country, like I have never been anymore since quite some time… I like the way she -purely New Yorker woman-  digs into our typical italian stereoptypes: pasta e salsiccia, cute little streets, non verbal communication (the italians can tell stories just with gestures and no single words!) and big monuments, pieces of art and pieces of our imponent roman past. The Augustinean Mausoleo in Rome is the twist in the tale: Elizabeth understands that ruin is precious, because only after fall we can build up again, we can change ourselves and adapt; decadence is the basis for development, adaptation, discovery. I totally feel like this, I enjoy every single moment I suffered in my life, i put my both hands into the mud to shape a new me again, every time I needed to. And I am a warrior, because the key is: no matter how much you suffer, you have to keep going and you will born new, sooner or later. Nothing is everlasting in life. neither love, neither pain.

In India Elizabeth explores her spiritual dimension, when she does not know how to meditate, she starts dedicating her prayers to her friend, she starts to imagine her happy… and then she suddenly realizes that praying and meditating is exactly just about that, rather than a pure contemplative exercise. Each of us has to find his own temple in his own life, in his own simple house, among his simple everyday gestures, just within himself. “God dwells within you, as you.”

“You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should be trying to control.”

And finally she finds peace and balance: “not too much God – not too much selfishness”. But as the guru says: “To lose balance sometimes for love is part of living a balanced life.”.  I say: Oh MY God, seriously, am I just too much in this cheesy mood?! But i do seriously think that is exactly what i have been through in the last year and a half, since i moved to Switzerland. I came here to collect pieces of myself and forgive myself, forgive him- most of all- too, because he left me-us without giving me the chance to fix our love. And so I finally did: i recovered, but i was always so cinical towards men for long time. Then a new HE finally came into my life, and of course we were both freaking scared. He just took my hand and convinced me, that to be happy again there is no other way than trying again, no other possibility than trust again, in order to love. I opened up like a blossom in spring in his delicate embrace. And now I am finally so deeply happy. I discovered new things about myself just because I gave him the chance to look them up inside me. I lost bad habits and change some attitudes I did not like, because I observed my image reflected in the other person. I just accepted our love like something indeniably present and consistent between the two of us, day after day, and it happened than it grew, we fed it. Because i just did let things go, finally, and this made new things possible again, this made good things real. (Thanks Diego. I’ll be for ever grateful to you for teaching me again how to open my heart and let love flow through it.)

“This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something. ”

the book

Of course this movie made me cry. I just could not help it anymore, when Elizabeth thinks about her past love and the pain she caused him, but also the happiness they shared. It has been real for a while. And they dance together: dance as a form of reconciliation before final separation…

Now I look back and I look forward. I can’t wait now to leave for my 52-days-journey by your side. I can’t wait to see you and wonder about things with you and be curious, and feel that we are making something good out of our small lives.

Besides all of this being emotional, I got seriously hungry now. I got nostalgic for my country when i saw her eating all those spaghetti, pizza margerita, gelato and antipasti pored with some good red wine. This movie is also a celebration of my culture and of my proud roots. She says she is having a relationship with her pizza, well if I could I would cheat on you with one of those real napolitan gorgeous pizzas right now… and I know you would do the same! What is also cool is that she talks about all this food and the acceptance of her body that comes with the pleasure of it. She just wants to enjoy it in a healthy way and forget about diets! Apparently americans can’t enjoy, even when they go on holidays they do not know how to relax. So Liz she defenetly learns the dolce far niente in my country.

When they are in Italy they all play a game, trying to find susbstutive words to describe and call things: like New York = ambitious, Stockholm = conformist, Rome= yeah well… sex! And so on. Liz she is still searching for her own word, she is a writer, just like the one i want to be! And at the end of the movie she finally finds it: the word is ATTRAVERSIAMO = let’s cross over. A word that -she says- embeds all the beautiful charachteristics of the italian language: the open sound A, the rolling R, the sweetening S. And well, I am exactly going to cross over soon, I will cross the ocean to meet you. Andiamo, together, attraversiamo.

good night

(original quotes from the book of Elizabeth Gilbert, 2006)