Is cooking an art? This question is something to be pondered on because how can a basic skill that everyone should have be considered an art? I am arguing that the creation of new recipes should be considered an art because the taste is a sense that we too often take for granted. If you think about how can one calculate the perfect amount of spices, seasonings, and herbs to make a delicious dish? This combining of different ingredients takes skill and some people are better at it than others. Creativity is utilized by chefs to make the best-tasting dishes. Furthermore, in the course that I am taking, “The Cultural Lives of Art and Crime,” I remember reading about an artist who utilized cooking in one of his pieces by building a kitchen set. He made free food for his audience while they were able to enjoy one another’s company.
If we were to claim that cooking in and of itself is an art then what if we were to add human flesh to the cooking recipe? If it weren’t for it being illegal, then it could possibly be argued that it’s an art. It surprised me to find out that there are no federal laws in US against cannibalism. However, most of the laws enacted by states, make it legally impossible to obtain and consume body matter. To begin with, murder is illegal and even with someone’s consent, it still classifies as murder… which is a crime. There have been psychotic mass murderers such as Jeffrey Dahmer who would consume his victims. Luckily, this person was caught and punished for their horrible actions.
Furthermore, it’s also possible to obtain human body parts through purchasing them. Despite the National Organ Transplant Act of 1984 prohibiting the buying and selling of organs for transplantation; it is found that the laws on organs for research and education aren’t very strict. This was learned about in 2017 which is crazy to think that this was only six years ago.
Now that we have discussed the legality side of things then how is this involved with a culture? In South America there is a tribe which consumes other human beings. They are known as the Yanomami tribe and they are found in Venezuela and parts of Brazil. Their burial process is known as endocannibalism. This basically means that they practice cannibalism within their own community. They eat the flesh once people have passed because they believe that soul needs to be protected after the body dies. They also believe that consuming a part of the deceased includes always having a piece of them within. They believe that completing this ritual is the only way the soul can attain eternal peace.
This tribe is fascinating because of the fact they have not been influenced by modernization or western society. It’s interesting to note that if they were to hypothetically migrate to US, their actions would be considered illegal; unless they’re recognized as an autonomous tribe. This brings up multiple questions such as those that follow: Who are we to tell them that they are unable to follow their culture anymore? Wouldn’t that be an obstruction of their right?