Study Guide

Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari Files

A very interesting type of analytic cookbook has been found in the forgotten papers of Félix Guattari. It is believed to have been written with Gilles Deleuze at the height of their collaboration. The book is handwritten and crudely illustrated and entitled Cooking With Rhizomes. The recipes are terrible and may have been written as a joke or as part of an all-night drunken attic gathering.

Here are three of the recipes with comments believed to have been made by either Deleuze or Guattari. It is difficult to make out who made the notes. Mr. Deleuze did most of the writing, but Guattari did most of the thinking. We'll assume the notes were a joint effort.

Recipe #1: Ginger"bread"

Ginger root, like the potato, is actually a tuber attached to a rhizome. Ginger comes from Asia, and when it is planted and harvested in European soil, it becomes very thin and dry. Yet we love to put it into cookies.

Let's not kid ourselves—gingerbread is not a bread; it is a cookie. This is a deterritorialization of ginger. Europeans have taken it away from its exotic and verdant home territory, and the spice has changed our baking as well as invaded our cookie language. But has ginger's minority status forced that cookie language into becoming-minor? Apparently, not yet.

Ginger as a rhizome spice has spread all over the world, but its minor influence has not yet changed the dominant baking language to which its been introduced. Gingerbread houses are not renamed ginger cookie houses.

Recipe #2: Potato "Pancakes"

Here again we have a great rhizomatic plant with tubers—as it should be. Potatoes were first grown in South America, but they moved to Europe and then back to North America, where they messed with breakfast recipes as well as dessert names.

A potato pancake has no flour in it, so by rights, it should not be considered a cake of any kind. But, as a rhizome can infiltrate the root systems of other plants, so too can the potato invade recipes and corrupt the names of those recipes.

The potato pancake recipe is minor-becoming because the word potato, a new ingredient put into an old recipe, has changed the traditional meaning of pancake. The potato has forced the term pancake to now include any dish fried in a pan, even if it contains no flour.

That puts us in quite a pickle, of course, since after this, pancake can mean anything. Do Southerners now call their fried pickles pickle pancakes?

This is an excellent example of a rhizome infiltrating and secretly changing the oppressive linguistic constructions of English breakfast language.

Recipe #3: Clover Leaf Stew

This rhizome is a weed of the greatest utility. The underground clover rhizome binds itself together underground after having taken over the root systems of other plants. Then it shoots up with nitrogen- and calcium-rich leaves (some lucky, some not). The clover rhizome takes over quite rapidly and becomes an organism with extreme fascist tendencies.

Do not attempt to make stew from clover, since when it is combined with heated broth, it quickly dissolves and becomes an ill-tasting soup. We made this recipe from an old French onion soup recipe, and it did not work well. The clover rhizome flavor becomes so dominant that it quickly overcomes all other seasoning.

In this, the fascist rhizome resembles Freudian psychoanalysis.

This recipe illustrates how an ideological concept, even that of the rhizome, can become overpowering. If there is too much rhizome, it will fail to infiltrate and change the dominant recipe; instead, it will take over completely become the dominant ingredient in the recipe. Such a recipe is will fail to please the palate; it should be turned into compost immediately.

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