‘Two are too many, so why are you buying so much of everything when you are the only one eating’, Anna asked Saturday night as we prepped for the online lessons. We’ve worked together so intimately for the last 13 years that we’re extensions of each others’ nervous systems. Rarely do we have to explain anything to one another. Yet, here we were, needing to discuss the need for a second octopus.
Food shows all around the world have a brand of fiction unique to the genre. ‘We prepared one earlier’, means not only will the process take longer than the host is claiming, but that food stylists were likely employed, guaranteeing that yours will look very different, despite your best efforts. Your clock will start ticking long before the one in the studio does, when the stage lights power up: you won’t have bowls of pre-chopped ingredients cut my interns hidden in the bowels of the studio.
But we’re doing our lessons live, which does away with the problem of seasonal produce: we don’t have a 7 month lag between production and transmission. And no one has yet to complain from those viewing in real time from the Southern hemisphere, an expected problem that has yet to manifest.
The biggest complaint so far is the same for us as it is for you. Where are the lessons, exactly. Where do you see them? And that is tricky, as no software/app/platform is yet perfect for all the technology involved: 3 cameras, live questions, ingredients posted in advance, cinematic-quality image, sent in real time all over the world. (So far our best solution is a Facebook page that explains how the lessons work and then unique groups for each course. The studio software takes some time to learn and only three transmissions were needed for me to learn that ‘switching from camera one to camera three’, does not actually require me to announce it first).
As with so much in modern life, I quell any technological frustrations with the idea that only the ungrateful complain about the hassle of the technology for things that weren’t even possible just a few months ago.
It took Anna seeing the two octopi sitting in bowls next to each other, one raw, one cooked, to grasp that she is now in the television business. At least until there is a widely distributed vaccine. What wasn’t lost on her is that the two of us, hidden away in a 16th century converted stable in provincial Italy are now broadcasting in real time all around the world, connecting with smiling faces, the world protected behind closed doors.
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