Once while in Rome, a friend and I passed in front of a shop window with several jars of cherry compote and other fruits. I told my friend: “I generally like fruit jams much more than natural fruit, and so I think cherry compote is much better than fresh, raw cherries.”
My friend argued that he liked the raw fruit better because it retains certain natural energies and flavors.
I replied that cooking natural, raw fruit produces something even better, more refined, and civilizing. Indeed, the fruit always loses something in the process, but it gains more than it loses.
In principle, I agree that contact with raw and natural things, not only in cooking but in everything in nature, offers something original that we need to be in touch with from time to time.
However, life is such that everything in nature can be organized, improved and mastered. As king of creation, man subjects everything to himself. He improves upon the flavors and directs the degree of flexibility or resistance found in natural things according to his tastes. Thus, he is in charge of creation and fulfills his role as the master of things.
This excerpt is from a lecture by Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira on November 8, 1991. The author did not revise this transcript.