A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from May 26, 2016
Lego Cookery

Felipe Fernández-Armesto, a British historian, wrote in Near a Thousand Tables: A History of Food (2002):

“Fusion food is Lego cookery. Only the revolution in availability makes it possible to mix and match elements delivered—often in processed form—to a kitchen which resembles an assembly point.”

Lego pieces are plastic bricks that can be assembled in various shapes. The term “Lego cookery” is not complimentary.


Wikipedia: Felipe Fernández-Armesto
Felipe Fernández-Armesto (born 1950) is a British historian and author of several popular works of history.

OCLC WorldCat record
Near a thousand tables : a history of food
Author: Felipe Fernández-Armesto
Publisher: New York : The Free Press, ©2002.
Edition/Format: Print book : English
Database: WorldCat
Summary:
Explores eight milestones in the cultural and culinary history of food, including the origins of cooking, the ritualization of eating, the inception of herding, the invention of agriculture, the rise of the class system, food trade, ecological exchanges, and the industrialization and globalization of food.
Amazon.com
Pg. 222:
Fusion food is Lego cookery. Only the revolution in availability makes it possible to mix and match elements delivered—often in processed form—to a kitchen which resembles an assembly point. Analogy with the automobile and computer “factories” where nothing is really made but parts are assembled after delivery from wherever in the world they can be most cheaply produced. More people can get more variety than ever before; yet they seem willing to forego the privilege in favor of cheap, standard products.

11 August 2002, New York (NY) Times, “All Cuisine Was Nouvelle: The domestication of fire turned solitary eaters into communal ones” by Betty Fussell, Book Review, pg. 12, col. 3:
Happily for his readers, Fernandez-Armesto’s dire pronouncements are offered with grace and wit. So we can only be grateful for his quick flashes of insight that link gluttony to heroism, conspicuous consumption to community service, manners to “the sauces of gesture,” imperial cuisine to culinary magnetism, fusion food to “Lego cookery” and the 15-cent hamburger of postwar fast food restaurants to “the enfleshment of fast-Fordism.”

Google Books
The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink
By Andrew F. Smith
New York, NY: Oxford University Press
2007
Pg. 249:
In his book Near A Thousand Tables: A History of Food (2002), Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, historian and professor at Oxford University, England, has called fusion cuisine ‘’Lego cookery,’’ made possible only by the availability of worldwide produce and resources, mix-and-match elements that arrive in kitchens in processed form. Far from inventive, he claims that fusion operations are nothing more than factories.

Twitter
Víctor Martínez
‏@victmartinez
“Fusion food is Lego cookery.” Los historiadores culturales de la alimentación a veces se llegan a poner muy intensos.
View translation
7:08 PM - 9 Sep 2013

The Wall Street Journal
Don’t Call It Fusion Cuisine
Cross-cultural culinary mash-ups have come a long way from the sesame-crusted tuna and wasabi mashed potatoes of decades past. So why is the “F” word such a taboo in today’s kitchens?

By RACHEL WHARTON
Feb. 28, 2014 7:27 p.m. ET
(...)
2002
In “Near a Thousand Tables: A History of Food,” Felipe Fernandez-Armesto calls fusion “Lego cookery” that combines components without care.

Verve
WINE & DINE
MAY 27, 2016
WHY IS INDIA OBSESSED WITH FUSION FOOD?
Text by Sona Bahadur
We trace India’s (and our own) love-hate relationship with the food world’s most taboo word
The cuss word of Indian gastronomy isn’t ‘food safety’. Or ‘MSG’. It’s not the all-foam-no-substance ‘molecular gastronomy’ or the done-to-death-right-now ‘pop-ups’. It’s not ‘pan-Asian’ or the straight-up awful ‘foodie’. It’s good ol’ ‘fusion.’

Not too long ago, I was anti-fusion to the core. Okay, not quite. But I was a purist who sought out the most exquisite steak, the fieriest Chettinad cuisine, the ne plus ultra of sushi. I thought of fusion as ‘lego cookery’, a term coined by food historian Felipe Fernández-Armesto to describe an approach that combines components without care. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Thursday, May 26, 2016 • Permalink