The Future of Christmas
London, December 2017
The Future of Christmas - London, December 2017
Christmas may be revered as the most traditional and nostalgic time of year but for December 2017 Bompas & Parr has looked beyond the culinary clichés of Christmas dinner to reimagine how the feast might look in the future.
Bompas & Parr’s The Future of Christmas, served on Friday 15th December, will unite highly recognisable facets and ingredients of the Christmas dinner with modern cooking techniques and turn other seasonal propositions completely on their head to position the meal as the height of innovation. Instead of the expected ‘turkey and all the trimmings’ this will be a Christmas banquet that will recognise the latest scientific research, nods its paper hat to public expectations of a more sustainable, fresher future with less wastage and appreciates the nation’s rapidly expanding waistlines with healthier options.
While Christmas dinner will forever be lauded as a time that family and friends come together, this forecast of what may come to be our collective Christmas future is designed to firmly challenge expectations of dry turkey, overcooked vegetables, unnecessarily indulgent pudding and guilt associated with over-eating and excess.
The objective of the meal will be to allow diners to refocus on the things that matter most and ask themselves whether the old methods and conventions of the occasion are as important as something as fundamental as flavour and whether this single meal should undermine otherwise carefully planned diets and normal healthy eating by being slavish to tradition. The Future of Christmas will be held at The Temple of the Tongue, Bompas & Parr’s studio and research kitchen.
Guests will be welcomed into the event with the world’s first Perrier-Jouët cocktail designed to be served in space and invited to select canapes served inside baubles as well as being served futuristic morsels printed onto edible films or served in rehydrated gels to cleanse the palate.
The main meal is taken seated in the shadow of Bompas & Parr’s midi-controlled 600 pipe flavour organ with a cornucopia of foods cooked using modern techniques and new equipment that is predicted to become commonplace in years to come. Expect a sous vide-poached roasted turkey apocalypse that is guaranteed to remain juicy, a fermented human saliva palate cleanse created by Sydney Schaefer.
To finish, the rich flavours of a traditional Christmas pudding will be preserved in a delicate translucent pudding, accompanied by liquid nitrogen instant frozen brandy ice cream and mini pavlovas filled with winter berries accompanied and a blizzard of floating Perrier-Jouët champagne bubbles.
Harry Parr, Director of Bompas & Parr, said: “Most culinary visions of the future tend towards the dystopian – think of the constant science fiction theme of pills as food. But the truth is people want great tasting, healthy food that’s sustainable and environmentally friendly so approaching the challenge of reimagining such an important meal of the year in a way that improves it without diluting its core concepts and flavours was difficult. We’ve created a meal that remains highly recognisable as Christmassy but is equally inventive and disruptive by the same measure.”
“Science has often followed cultural anticipation, not led it.”
Scientist Gregory Benford (2007)
Throughout the course of the dinner, guests will glimpse different interpretations of the future of Christmas, served in a loose chronological order that aligns with the requisite culinary sophistication of the time.
Your first course will be focused around the Future Past and the forward-looking conceptions of the past: molecular gastronomy, flexitarian eating, the fear and necessity of processed food to name but a few.
Yeasted blinis with spherified butter and yeast extract
Cheese straws of immortality
Marbled quails’ eggs
Perrier-Jouët Champagne with mulled wine pearls
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
Peter Drucker, management consultant, educator and author, whose writings contributed to the philosophical and practical foundations of modern business corporations, 1909-2005
Future Now is characterized by the scientific breakthroughs of today and the way that they will influence the dining tables of tomorrow:
from the use of light and chromatography to augment the drinking experience, to a return to the earth through foraging and the rediscovery of ancient ingredients.
Poached cranberries, truffled sprout leaves, crispy chestnut, grated parmesan
Coconut palm-smoked salmon, buttered radishes, malted soil, buttermilk bubbles,
Christmas tree sorbet
Red or white wine
“We shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium.”
An impending apocalypse shall not impede our enjoyment of fine dining. A particular evocative food features in Terry Gilliam’s Brazil (1985), where braised veal in wine sauce, duck a líorange, crevette a la mayonnaise, and steak is served in paste form, with each dish accompanied by a picture of the original food.
Simultaneously this apocalyptic feast represents
the ultimate in dining decadence and culinary swansong.
Sous vide blackened turkey, rolled in shallot powder and activated charcoal
Trigeminal devils on horseback cooked with plasma and Sichuan buttons
Post-apocalyptic bread sauce
Vertical hydroponic cabbages
Triple-cooked roast potatoes
Whole wonky root vegetables
Root vegetable seasoning pills
Red or white wine
“While most people vow and hope that they will never rely on pills for food, they presume future generations will conform to whatever ‘science finds’ – pills, algae or other dystopian horrors.”
Meals to Come: A History of the Future of Food, Warren Belasco (2006)
To suit Earth’s unstable climatic future, we foresee that humans may choose interior and artificial environments, withdrawing from an ever more dangerous nature. Whether the futures of mankind will be deep underground, at the bottom of the oceans or floating in outer space, we can be sure that the Christmas feast will not be forgotten, but will adapt to this new future.
Fermented salivial mistletoe shooters
Clear Christmas pudding with a liquid centre, served with liquid nitrogen brandy ice cream
Mini pavlovas filled with wintered white berries and covered in sugar snowfall
Red or white wine
“This is the food they eat, and their drink is air, which is squeezed into a cup and yields a liquid like dew. They are not subject to calls of nature, which, in fact, they have no means of answering. Another important function, too, is not provided for as one would expect, but in the hollow of the knee.”
A True Story, Lucian of Samosata (120AD)
We end on a quote from the earliest form of science fiction, A True Story by Greek writer Lucian of Samosata. He travels into a distant future and discovers a world that has evolved past the physiological processes of eating and digesting. Our guests will get a glimpse into their own epochal future by consuming after dinner champagne in the form of Perrier-Jouët Champagne bubbles – flavored orbs of air that titillate the palate without deigning to involve any physiological functions.