First off, I'd like to thank the Penticton Art Gallery for their awesome Soup Bowls night. I got an amazing one-of-a-kind bowl that I love so much I took it home and made soup the very next day just so I could use it again.
My favourite soup was Julie Fowler's lentil soup, which was a bit of a shocker since I don't even like lentils! Not even a little. They kind of gross me out. I think it's the texture?
Funny story: I only accepted the soup in the first place because I was standing next to Julie and then realized she was reaching out for my bowl to fill it. Not wanting to seem like a picky, ungrateful jerk, I handed over my bowl with awkward politeness and she filled it. Now, the plan was to take a couple of spoonfuls (ew, lentils!), force a smile, say how amazing it was, and then surreptitiously get Mike to finish it off for me. That's not what happened. I put the spoon full of soup in my mouth and it was amazing. I even nominated it for best soup for the night - and it was.
Now I should probably explain that I am going somewhere with this, it's not just a personal food critique. The point is that the gallery is brilliant for having a soup-tasting night. It's like a life-sized metaphor for the gallery itself: bring people in, expose them to something new, something different, something beautiful. Something they wouldn't normally try on their own.
Because art, like food, is a matter of taste. I couldn't name a single person who hasn't questioned the logic of art auctions where a piece of "art" - perhaps a canvas that has a single red dot on it, or looks as if it was used as a toddler's bib - sells for half a million or more, while a beautifully detailed piece on the wall at the local coffee shop for $50 has sat there for over a year. Whoever bought that half-million-dollar-art-piece loved it. To me, that's a bowl of red lentil soup right there. You might assume that the style isn't something you like, or you looked at the price tag and the simplicity of the painting and figured something wasn't adding up. But did you really look at the painting and 'taste' it? No? Then how do you know it wasn't for you?
That's why galleries will always be important: they give the opportunity for those (like myself) who have preconceived notions about what kind of art is their 'taste' to really explore new flavours and textures. Let them fill your bowl.
I think I'll try making some red lentil soup some time.
PS - Sorry I doubted your soup, Julie! It was amazing. #souplove