INTRODUCTION TO THE LEXICON
VERSION 0.1.1 (2019)
The Genomic Gastronomy Lexicon is a collection of terms and definitions that we have compiled in the course of our investigations into food, art and the life sciences.
Version 0.1.1 includes beta definitions of terms, and is the first time these definitions are being disseminated publicly. We have kept the length of the definitions to 280 characters or less. In most versions of this lexicon the term being defined will appear in ALL CAPS and/or in BOLD (subject to the limitations of the medium of dissemination). For any corrections, suggestions or questions please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
ADVERSARIAL FOOD DESIGN
Adversarial Food Design is the creation of edible artifacts or experiences that evoke and engage political issues, taking divisive positions in order to generate dissensus and contestational relations. (after C. Disalvo)
Aeroir is the unique atmospheric taste of place. The release of chemical compounds from anthropogenic and non-anthropogenic sources mix and are exposed to UV light from the sun to create smog and other local atmospheric conditions, whose qualities can be tasted and smelled.
Air-Gapped Agriculture is an agroecological security measure for increasing agricultural resilience—by physically or economically isolating farms from industrialized supply chains—in the hopes that they can withstand cascading technological, cultural & infrastructural failures.
An Appropriate Biotechnology is the intentional use or manipulation of an organism or living environment that meets the requirements of the community where it will be deployed. They are often slow, resilient and utilize human labor rather than energy intensive mechanization.
Autogastronomy is the art of flavoring oneself well. Humans spend a lot of time making their food flavourful and making themselves beautiful. Shouldn’t we also flavour ourselves well for the small organisms that consume parts of us everyday, and every last bit of us when we die?
Beta-Tasters sample, recombine and assess novel combinations of organisms, ingredients and flavours. They hone their olfactory, gustatory and digestive systems in order to document and disseminate their gastronomic experiences. (cf. GASTRONAUTS)
Big Protein is a term describing the emerging industrial ecosystem of corporations, lobbyists, scientists, farmers & pharmers who are re-inventing the way that proteins are produced, processed and consumed by humans, (esp. with an emphasis on efficiency and profit maximization).
BIODIVERSITY OF THE KITCHEN
The Biodiversity of the Kitchen is the abundance and distribution of biological difference in a kitchen. Locally agricultural biodiversity can be augmented via fermentation and other food processing techniques that increase the number and kind of organisms present in a kitchen.
Bioregional Cuisine is an agro-eco-culinary system—including distinctive farming methods, ingredients, culinary techniques and gastronomic rituals—that has emerged or been intentionally designed in dialogue with the climate, geology and biospheric flows of a geographic area.
CONSTRAINT BASED COOKING
Constraint Based Cooking is when people create novel and unexpected combinations of organisms, ingredients and techniques in response to real or perceived rules and limitations. (e.g. FAMINE FOODS are new and persistent foodways that emerge during times of hunger or starvation).
Cyber Agrarian is a speculative agroecosystem that employs emerging digital and bio technologies in the pursuit of a regenerative food system. Satellites, sensors and automation are deployed in order to create a more just, fair and autonomous use of the landscape.
DATABASES OF TASTE
Databases of Taste are structured sets of culinary data held in print or digital formats that are accessible and can be employed to create recombinatorial cuisines. The meaningful application of A.I. for food system redesign requires a meaningful corpus of data.
Disaster Pharming is the search for commercially viable mutations in plants, fungi, algae and isolated genes caused by anthropogenic activity. The enterprising ‘amateur bio-prospector’ of tomorrow may be visiting superfund sites as often as rain forests and wetlands.
EATERS ARE AGENTS OF SELECTION.
Humans reshape the planet with every bite they take. The human food system is constantly reproduced by the selection, propagation and manipulation of organisms and environments by human eaters. Within our global civilization and global food system Eaters Are Agents of Selection.
FAILED FOOD UTOPIAS
Failed Food Utopias are historical plans for perfecting the human food system which did not fulfill their initial promise or were otherwise discontinued. (e.g. diets based on: hyper-efficient single celled organisms, fungi based diets, spirulina, pill foods, etc.)
FOOD FOREST FANTASIES
Food Forest Fantasies are the set of speculative agricultures imagined and prototyped in the 20th+21st century that utilized agroforestry techniques and celebrate+emphasize the role of trees in agricultural systems. (SEE: Endless Orchard by Fallen Fruit for an urban example).
FOOD SECURITY THROUGH OBSCURITY
You can’t commodify what you can’t standardize. Get different. Food Security Through Obscurity is a heuristic for propagating organisms that are anti-fungible and resistant to commodification due to unique taste, short shelf-life and other culinary or agronomic characteristics.
GASTRONOMY is the art of choosing, cooking and eating good food. GENOMICS looks at genetic variability and interactions between all of an organism’s genes & the environment. Genomic Gastronomy is the study of organisms & environments that are manipulated by human food cultures.
Intentional Cuisines are planned rituals, practices and foodways that are designed and goal-directed, serving as an alternative to the dominant and normative cuisines of the time or local area. Their longevity often reflects how well they are able to adapt to changing conditions.
O.F.F.I.C.E.—Other Food Futures (Including Cuisine and Ecology)—is an backronym that is a reminder to prioritize taste and place when prototyping desirable food futures, avoiding the unnecessary veneration of technology, profit and linear thinking.
P.O.F.S.I.W.I.D. (The purpose of a food system is what it does) is a heuristic for understanding a food system at any scale. It requires one to describe the observable outcomes of a system, ignoring the stated intentions and desires of a system’s agents, promoters or designers.
Protein Futures are the cultural imaginaries that relate to the human preparation and consumption of the nutrient protein. Some include the rearing and eating of whole animals, while others describe growing parts of animals in lab-like conditions or entirely plant-based diets.
SAVE OUR CELLS.
Save Our Cells. What is the smallest scale for assessing agricultural biodiversity or culinary preservation? For example, Lab grown meat only propagates preferred cell types. Will we want to preserve & promote the growth of less desirable cell types in an in vitro food future?
Slow Biotechnology strives to practice the life sciences at the correct speed. Faster is not always better. Slow biotechnology takes into consideration a wide range of social and ecological factors—as well as the short and long term impacts of research and design.
A Social Biotechnology is an object, tool or method that can be shared between people and nurtures companionship, conviviality and belonging. E.g. a recipe is a method for combining organisms and is passed on with the addition of advice, updates, stories or other social content.
SPECULATIVE FOOD DESIGN
Speculative Food Design imagines and prototypes alternative cuisines, future food systems and experimental ways of eating. It can be used to inspire new products and services, critique existing food design practices or as a method for conducting ethnographies of eater experience.
TERROIR THAT TRAVELS
The local environmental conditions that contribute to unique culinary characteristics—in food products like wine—change over time. Terroir That Travels are plants, animals, soil microbiota and entire agricultural landscapes that migrate due to changes in environment and climate.
An Unexpected Ingredient is an organism or compound that is not explicitly considered food—but is accidentally or unknowingly ingested—and often has an impact on taste, digestion or nutrition. Examples include microplastics, smog, carbon nanotubes & pharmaceuticals in waterways.
WE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN BIOHACKERS
We Have Always Been BioHackers. Since the dawn of agriculture humans have developed tools for manipulating organisms & environments to suit their needs & desires. Can our collective wisdom prevent unintended consequences and match the increasing precision and power of our tools?