A Recipe for Creation

Context:

Within the Context of the show “Chowder,” the Oven is usually an ancillary object. Through the entire series, it’s never been intertwined in an episode as a significant object. But in relation to the theme of the show overall, which is on the joy of creation conveyed through cooking, the oven, as a metaphor and as a hearth of creation is so important it’s featured in the intro sequence of every episode. All the episodes of chowder begin from within the oven looking out, where the series main characters are passing by on their latest misadventures. But more immediate, that the characters running around outside the oven, are dishes being created within, developing their character and personality.

Visual Description:

The oven itself doesn't have a lot of visual elements. It’s made of brick, and within there’s a grate that sits right above a heat source that powers the oven. In the center is a window through which we can see the series main characters including the title character Chowder, apprentice chef as well chowder’s master chef Mung Daal, and beyond them every other character in the series. Although not part of the oven proper the most interesting thing about the oven is what’s cooking inside. The oven itself is a static fixture in the intro sequence, but the dishes cooking within change from episode to episode, and each has a personality, color, and character of its own.

One of my favorites in terms of Visual design is the superior cannoli, whose sitting in a bathtub, reading a book with a fez hat on his head, like the image of sophisticated austerity. Another is the loaf of bread that can’t stop touching himself. He just sits there rubbing his hands across his loafy body.

Color:

The color of the oven itself is a pretty tame palette of reds, browns, and embers. The brick is a reddish brown color, the metal of the door is a dull grey, as are the grates above the heat source. And from beneath the grates, a warm orange color is pouring upward. Again, the true variety in color here comes from the dishes cooking within and they touch on every color. One of my favorite dishes In terms of its colors are the muffins begin floating out of their tray as the spend more time in the heat of the oven. They’re colored in bright blue, pink, red, green and yellow. The wide spectrum they represent meshes well with the animation of them floating upwards and the smiles on each of their faces. Another dish I like in terms of its color are the fluffy little blue and red cream puffs, that press against one another so hard that they become one purple puff.

Resonance: The Hearth of Creation and the element of development

What resonates with me about the oven, is in part that it’s so simply designed. Its color isn’t extraordinary and its visual design is mostly to communicate to the viewer that it is an oven. But despite its simplicity, the oven is an element of creation within the show and beyond that the creation of living dishes. It’s where inert elements combine and coalesce to become more that separate ingredients but something whole and alive. And after they come to life, the oven serves as a developmental space where each dishes marinates in the heat and pressure of the oven to mature in its character and personality. The ethics of eating a living dish are iffy though.