If you were a fan of alphabet soup growing up, then you were probably told to stop “playing with your food” when you decided that trying to spell out your name with the noodles was more important than actually eating the noodles. Turns out, the grown-ups were wrong. Playing with your food can actually be very productive.
Data Cuisine is a project that allows participants to manipulate food to represent the social, cultural and economic data of their hometowns and countries. In June 2014, a group of 12 chefs and data visualizers gathered at a data cuisine workshop in Barcelona to develop a menu of edible infographics that visually represent Spain’s demographic data. Participants were taught how to turn everything from the sex lives of young adults in Barcelona to the city’s noise levels into edible infographics. The best part is that the data menu was publicly tasted after the workshop. Eating in the name of art and science? Sign us up!
Here we have “Emigration Fish.” It represents the emigration of young people from Spain. The one side of the fried mahi represents Spain, all in red and yellow, while the second half shows where Spanish people emigrate. Each piece represents in size the number of Spanish immigrants and the six most favored countries. Each piece was prepared in a way that’s typical for the respective country. For example, the U.S. fish is fried in bacon fat because… bacon.
“First Date Noodles” explores the sex life of young adults in Barcelona. The messy “noodle ball” represents the percentage of people who have sex on a first date (86% of men and 59% of women). The color indicates the people’s gender. The abstinent men and women are represented by the straight noodles not touching each other.
“Requiem for Science” is composed of two almond cakes that highlight one striking statistic: Science funding in Spain was cut by a staggering 34% over the last few years. One cake was prepared with more scientific techniques (like foaming the dough and using the microwave), while the other was made using traditional methods.
“Take It With a Pinch of Salt” visually represents Barcelona’s noise levels. The fruit is supposed to represent the artists meal times, while the steady stream of salt represents Barcelona’s steady noise levels. Anything over 50 decibels is said to be bad for your heath. In Barcelona, volumes reach 75 decibels.
The main takeaway here is, the next time you see a kid playing with their food, let them. They may just become the next great data visualizer.
What kind of city data would you transform into an edible infographic if the Data Cuisine workshop rolled into your town? Share your ideas with us in the comments.
(h/t Fast Company)