This is the motto of the DJ Daniele De Michele, aka Donpasta, the poet-cook, ecologist and gastro-philosopher. The Slow Food movement started in Italy and there’s even a Slow Food Film Festival! Slow food is a consuming passion for Donpasta, and he took this passion for cooking, eating and the fullest enjoyment of both one step further, by cooking recipes from around the Mediterranean, filming the process, screening the footage with a live jazz band playing the music he selects for each recipe, and all this, while he reads his unique prose-poetry.
His resultant multi-media show melds Italian Salento cuisine, music, folktales and images, to create a sensory experience that is at once contemporary theatre, tales of an old storyteller, the misadventures of a clumsy cook, and the combination of a passion for food, musical ponderings and cultural reflections.
Don Pasta has collected his performances in his book, ‘Food Sound System’, which offers 30 recipes from the Mediterranean, lightly sprinkled with good wine and good music. The book is not merely a cookbook. It’s closer to a jam session of food, music and history, served up with a suitable drink and a dash of philosophy! The introduction is the longest part of each chapter, bringing in all the elements of the complex dish – recipe, music, drink and other random thoughts that occur to Donpasta in this process.
The book is an ode to the ritual of cooking and eating, to music and travel. While it can be used as a normal cookbook, it’s a great book to read while drinking a glass of wine and listening to music! A philosophical manual for musical gastronomy, ‘Food Sound System’, quickly became a cult book in Italy, and was swiftly followed with his ‘Wine Sound System’.
Donpasta’s marvellous, well-toured shows are multi-media, multi-sensory gastronomic experiences that do not fail to delight audiences, as well as get their gastric juice flowing! Musical lasagnes add reggae, jazz, funk, soul and rock. Nick Drake, Coltrane, Tom Waits, The Clash, become ingredients to add as needed. The video clips add other ingredients, and the Food Sound System flows in a gastronomic sensory experience for the audience.
‘Food Sound System’ and Donpasta’s live shows introduce a whole new way of enjoying the pleasures and art of eating, listening to music and travelling. All senses are summoned, sight, taste, smell, touch, hearing, and every word has a counterpoint in images. Every sound coming from the kitchen becomes music, which inspires the melodies. Donpasta never cooks dishes out of season. Averse to both fast and genetically modified food, he will can happily spend a whole day making a sauce – exactly as it should be.
While zucchini, peppers and eggplants melt in oil and their fragrant smells spread through the theatre, he arouse the audience’s every sense as he tells tales of travel in a kind of road movie that evokes olive trees, night streets and local markets – a cultural tutti frutti and artistic melting pot which blends nostalgia, hope and meditation, and where cooking itself is both art and culture, deeply anchored in Mediterranean civilization. The cooking images depict the creation of the dishes – eat before viewing the show, lest you faint from hunger!