The Weight of Cakes

1096 Words5 Pages
See what I did there? Although I may have borrowed Shaw’s title, this essay will (arguably) have a bit more romance than the Pygmalion, but that is an entirely different essay. Growing up I have always been surrounded by every aspect of food imaginable. My mother owns a catering business and has been cooking all of her life (and I would like to think I picked up a skill or two along the way). One thing is for sure though; I have grown to appreciate many different aspects of food. Naturally, being a sugar crazed adolescent, one of my favorite dishes were her specialty cakes. Even though my taste and palate has considerably increased and become more refined, I still take great delight in a slice of cake from time to time. While reading Aesthetics (Korsmeyer 271-72), I came across an interesting quote from Immanuel Kant (Kant 55); “Food and drink, for example, afford mere bodily pleasure, which can never achieve the universality and importance of aesthetic judgments.” I highly disagree with this statement. Cake, among many other foods, has excelled far beyond simple bodily pleasure. Through my many experiences with my mother’s catering business I will show that cakes can in fact stand toe to toe with great established works and be called art.

Let me first establish that I am strictly defending cakes. I do not believe all food can be or even should be defended as art. There is no way you can convince me that McDonalds’ fries are great artwork. This same argument can be used in regards to certain art forms (just because something is a painting doesn’t make it art, etc.). This brings me to the tedious task of defining art. Essential, functional, procedural, hybrid, and historically reflexive are just a few of the many different types...

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... has a history attached simply from the many experiences with my mother. It sparks memories and brings out emotions like only great pieces of art can. It provides an aesthetic experience that only art can achieve. So the next time you encounter a slice of cake, take a moment to go beyond taste and enjoy the aesthetic pleasures of such a simple dish.

Works Cited

Davies, S. “Definitions of Art.” Aesthetics. Ed. Berys Gaut, Domonic Mciver Lopes. New York: Routledge, 2002.

Dickie, G. The Art Circle. New York: Haven, 1984.

Gopnik, B. “The Big Debate: Can Food Be Serious Art?” The Washington Post. 2009.

Kant, I. Critique of Judgment. Trans. W. Pluhar, Indianapolis: Hackett, 1987 [1790].

Korsmeyer, C. “Taste.” Aesthetics. Ed. Berys Gaut, Domonic Mciver Lopes. New York: Routledge, 2002.

Zangwill, N. “Groundrules in the Philosophy of Art.” Philosophy. 70: 533-44.
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