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YCN Reading List: Sam Bompas

Bompas & Parr is a creative studio that specialises in multi-sensory experience design. Founded by Sam Bompas and Harry Parr in 2007, it offers food and drink design, brand consultancy and immersive experiences. First making a name for themselves through their expertise in jelly-making, their portfolio of work now includes projects such as an inhabitable cloud of gin and tonic, the world’s first multi-sensory firework display and an exhibition dedicated to the past, present and future of ice cream.

Recently we went to the YCN library to discover what is on Sam’s Reading List, and his love for books immediately became apparent – he brought double the number of books that guests usually bring.

Here are some of his top picks, ranging from the weird to the wonderful, and everything in between:

Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes
Containing recipes from Dahl’s books, including Snozzcumbers from The BFG and Wormy Spaghetti from The Twits, this was Sam’s first ever cookbook and now ‘probably the seminal work for Bompas & Parr.’

The Futurist Cookbook by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti
The Futurist movement recognised that people ‘think, dream and act according to what they eat and drink’. Part manifesto, part cookbook, the recipes are more about theatre than cooking; Marinetti discusses how all the senses interact with each other to inform experiences.

Hoosh: Roast Penguin, Scurvy Day and Other Stories of Antarctic Cuisine by Jason C. Anthony
Although not famous for its cuisine, Antartica is famous for heroic expeditions – and there’s no place on the planet where food is so important in terms of survival. This book documents the food that has been made in Antartica over the last 200 years, as well as how it brought people together in such a harsh environment.

The Oxford Companion to Food by Alan Davidson
A dictionary but with a culinary spin, The Oxford Companion to Food offers a massively comprehensive guide to different types of cuisine. Its combination of food history, culinary expertise and entertaining opinions make it Sam’s most important reference book for food.

Ices: The Definitive Guide by Caroline Liddell and Robin Weir
Whilst Bompas & Parr are the experts in jelly-making, Liddell and Weir know all things ice cream; they own the worlds largest collection of ice cream paraphernalia. They became the inspiration for the latest Bompas & Parr exhibition ‘Scoop: A Wonderful Ice Cream World’ that showcased their huge collection, featuring vintage equipment, advertising and art.

Spectacular Chemical Experiments
Ending the talk with a bang (almost literally), Sam’s last book came with a demonstration of one of the experiments. Lycopodium, a powder often used in homeopathy, is also highly flammable. Sam invited everyone to go outside where, with a small gas torch, he lit the powder which went up in flames immediately. A fitting end to a thoroughly entertaining talk.

Thanks very much to Sam, and to YCN for hosting another interesting and exciting evening. We left feeling inspired, reminded of the importance of reading for leisure, work and research.

Photograph by Sam Bush for YCN

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