humor: Jean-Paul Sartre Cookbook

From: Ken Clements (
Date: Wed Apr 12 2000 - 15:42:02 MDT

I can't help forwarding the following, i.e. the memes made me do it
(source unknown, sorry if it has been here). I especially like the
question as to how you know that what you are not eating is actually
tuna, and wonder how to program the subjective experience of not eating
a specific choice from an arbitrarily large number of choices.


The Jean-Paul Sartre Cookbook

We have been lucky to discover several previously lost diaries of French

philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre stuck in between the cushions of our office

sofa. These diaries reveal a young Sartre obsessed not with the void,
but with food. Aparently Sartre, before discovering philosophy, had
hoped to
write "a cookbook that will put to rest all notions of flavor forever."

The diaries are excerpted here for your perusal.

October 3

Spoke with Camus today about my cookbook. Though he has never actually
eaten, he gave me much encouragement. I rushed home immediately to
begin work. How excited I am! I have begun my formula for a Denver

October 4

Still working on the omelet. There have been stumbling blocks. I keep
creating omelets one after another, like soldiers marching into the sea,

but each one seems empty, hollow, like stone. I want to create an
omelet that expresses the meaninglessness of existence, and instead they
like cheese. I look at them on the plate, but they do not
look back. Tried eating them with the lights off. It did not help.
Malraux suggested paprika.

October 6

I have realized that the traditional omelet form (eggs and cheese) is
bourgeois. Today I tried making one out of cigarette, some coffee, and
four tiny stones. I fed it to Malraux, who puked. I am encouraged, but

my journey is still long.

October 10

I find myself trying ever more radical interpretations of traditional
dishes, in an effort to somehow express the void I feel so acutely.
Today I tried this recipe:

Tuna Casserole

Ingredients: 1 large casserole dish
Place the casserole dish in a cold oven. Place a chair facing the oven
and sit in it forever. Think about how hungry you are. When night
do not turn on the light.

While a void is expressed in this recipe, I am struck by its
inapplicability to the bourgeois lifestyle. How can the eater recognize

that the food denied him is a tuna casserole and not some other dish? I

am becoming more and more frustrated.

October 25

I have been forced to abandon the project of producing an entire
cookbook. Rather, I now seek a single recipe which will, by itself,
embody the
plight of man in a world ruled by an unfeeling God, as well
as providing the eater with at least one ingredient from each of the
four basic food groups. To this end, I purchased six hundred pounds of
foodstuffs from the corner grocery and locked myself in the kitchen,
refusing to admit anyone. After several weeks of work, I produced a
recipe calling for two eggs, half a cup of flour, four tons of beef, and
leek. While this is a start, I am afraid I still have much work ahead.

November 15

Today I made a Black Forest cake out of five pounds of cherries and a
live beaver, challenging the very definition of the word cake. I was
pleased. Malraux said he admired it greatly, but could not stay for
dessert. Still, I feel that this may be my most profound achievement
yet, and have resolved to enter it in the Betty Crocker Bake-Off.

November 30

Today was the day of the Bake-Off. Alas, things did not go as I had
hoped. During the judging, the beaver became agitated and bit Betty
on the wrist. The beaver's powerful jaws are capable of felling blue
spruce in less than ten minutes and proved, needless to say, more than a
for the tender limbs of America's favorite homemaker. I only got third
place. Moreover, I am now the subject of a rather nasty lawsuit.

December 1

I have been gaining twenty-five pounds a week for two months, and I am
now experiencing light tides. It is stupid to be so fat. My pain and
ultimate solitude are still as authentic as they were when I was thin,
but seem
to impress girls far less. From now on, I will live on cigarettes and
black coffee.

Sorry, there is no exit from this page.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:09:16 MDT