Hack1 – Embellied Cognition Workshop: an in vivo step-by-step tutorial for cooking deconstructed Pizza Soup

Lecturer: Ronald Sladky
Fields: Cooknitive Science

We will meet on Thu, 8. April, 20:00 at the cafeteria buffet in the VIK space.

A list of required materials and resources can be found below the abstract.


Current archaeological consensus suggests that Hominini (H. erectus, H. sapiens) invented cooking at least 500,000 years ago (Pollard, 2015) and there is also evidence for cooking behavior in present-day chimpanzees (P. troglodytes) (Warneken & Rosati, 2015). Several studies have suggested that food consumption appears to have partial relevance for survival, i.e., for maintaining autopoiesis (Maturana & Varela, 1972) in order to consistently counteract the second law of thermodynamics (Schrödinger, 1944), most likely by minimizing (variational) free energy (Friston, 2010). Beyond that, it is known that consuming food is associated with reward and, depending on cultural and geographical factors, mostly positive affectivity, a phenomenon that we will call cooked meal consumption pleasure (CMCP). An important aspect of CMCP is that subjective experience is not entirely stimulus-driven, resulting in a significant inter-subjective variability (e.g., different dietary preferences and requirements, previous experiences), variability depending on socio-cultural and environmental contexts, and multi-modal sensory integration (Auvray & Spence, 2008). If CMCP (or anything else) exists it must be a dynamical system (Jaeger, 2021) apparently implemented by hierarchical Markov blankets (Friston, Wiese, and Hobson, 2020).

Instances of successful CMCP are known to allow for foodborne mental space-time traveling (fMSTT). E.g., subjects reported previously that the smell and taste combination of Langos, cotton candy,  pickles, and ice cream always reactivates childhood memories of trips to the fairground (Any Wiener et al., 1993). By using an optimized CMCP preparation method, we aim at eliciting the same form of fMSTT, i.e., mentally taking subjects back to Günne. The vehicle used in this study is one of IK’s most iconic dishes, i.e., Pizza Soup (PS) that is served as a first meal. Typical reactions by the participants span the full valence spectrum from ‘Oh ja, lecker.’, to ‘What the %$#@ is this?!’. Here we will ensure that reactions will be mostly positive by updating the PS base recipe and modularizing the components to allow for different dietary preferences (e.g., omnivore, herbivore, people with intolerances). This optimized processing workflow results in a deconstructed PS (dPS) (Derrida, 1967). Note, in this context,  optimized is not used as a testable proposition but as a declarative speech act (Searle & Vanderveken, 1985). dPS will implement PS’ main goals, yet entail different sensory experiences and, in so doing, improving overall CMCP while still allowing for fully-embellied fMSTT.

Required and recommended materials


  • 2 cans tomatoes (whole and peeled)
  • 1/8 liter olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2-4 slices good white bread (Ciabatta)
  • Salt, black pepper
  • Optional modifiers: Bay leaf, chili, soy sauce, sugar, baking soda


  • Good white bread (Ciabatta)
  • for carnivores: salami, Jalapeno chilis, grated cheese
  • for omnivores: pine nuts, basil, mozarella
  • for herbivores: roasted tomatoes, olives