Part of my slow blogging experiment has inspired me to look for other areas of my life that could use some reining in, as well. I’ve been taking more breaks during the work day, pausing to stare and simmer and see. I’ve been reading slower, contemplating each word and letting the deeper meaning sink in with every line of text. And the moment I spotted the “Slow Fast Food Restaurant” from Studio Swine, I knew the next project on my list would be to embrace slower cooking, eating and experimenting.
As a food lover (the word ‘foodie’ sounds too precocious to label myself as such), I love the idea of savoring my meal, taking the time to experience the fullness of each flavor. Yet all too often, dining out isn’t necessarily conducive to a slower experience, is it? Each course seems to arrive faster than the last as we’re accepting drinks and bread and cheese plates and tapas and suddenly the table is full and our bellies are fuller – all before the main course has even arrived. It’s an interesting picture of our society today – the need to rush forward and push through until we feel fuller; better – until we’re hungry and empty a few hours later, beginning the cycle anew.
To press ‘pause’ on this cycle, São Paulo and London-based designers Azusa Murakami and Alexander Groves of Studio Swine designed a fast food restaurant where the diner is taken on a journey picking vegetables and baking buns to construct their own hamburger before reaching the dining table. As a result, the act of consuming food is transformed into a ritualistic ceremony.
“We began by manically dissecting a hamburger into 25 different components and made over 100 prototypes of different eating implements, which corresponded with how we ate certain food, and how the mouth moved when we ate certain things,” Azusa writes. “Each tool was tailored to eat each part of a hamburger.”
The resulting dining table is reminiscent of a carpenter’s work bench – an array of tools designed for the specific purposes of creating and shaping and designing a desired product to be enjoyed. There are sesame pickers and bun holders and lettuce tongs, primed for hunting, gathering and – ultimately – consuming.
The pair are conceptualizing the restaurant at the moment, hoping to introduce the idea to the public in the near future. “We never design things that can’t be turned into reality,” Azusa noted.
Milan Kundera once wrote, “The degree of slowness is directionally proportional to the intensity of memory. The degree of speed is directionally proportional to the intensity of forgetting.” And much like a burger, those are words worth savoring.
Image Credits: Studio Swine
p.s. Just for fun: Patterned silverware, stacked dinnerware and a steak poster.
p.p.s. For a deeper, more meaningful dining experience of your own, my e-friend Shauna just released the most delicious and heartwarming book Bread & Wine. Bon appetit.