The balance between tradition and innovation

by Enzo Coccia

I was present at the art exhibit Concerto per archi e fili d’erba by Carmine Rezzuti  and Quintino Scolavino, realized by Marco De Gemmis and Patrizia Di Maggio, launched on Saturday, October 29 at Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli (Naples’ National Archeological Museum), both as an ordinary visitator and as a helper in preparing the buffet, letting the participants taste murzilli and ‘mpustarelle. Looking at the master Quintino Scolavino’s artwork which represents an aerial acrobat suspended on a wire and in front of him a big stone to pass, I started to think about the concept of balance: that big stone suspended in the museum arch called the famous 19th century tightrope walker Charles Blondin to my mind.

If you think about it, the balance is one of the constants of our lives, both sentimental and professional. There is a balance between integrity and irresponsibility, patience and nervousness, when you cook you have to find the balance between sweet and salty, bitter and acid. The balance to be found at work between the need to satisfy the market and the necessity to succeed when preparing a pizza.

For example, the balance in the preparation of a dish halfway between tradition and innovation: because even if it is true that the recipe is the historical memory of the tradition, at the same time, the recipes need to be revisited to remain “alive”, so as not to simply provide only mnemonic notions. The execution of a recipe changes with the taste of a certain time and although it is the deep expression of a territory, it always needs to gain new approvals. For this reason, over the years, innovation in cooking may become in turn tradition.

Overall, the balance is the great metaphor of life, nature, our being men and women, not only professionals of this or that art. Do you want to know how I feel? The rapper Gué Pequeno sings: “The world is composed of two hemispheres, the crazy and the serious emispheres” and I try every day to be in perfect balance between the two hemispheres.