Most modern cooking is an endless process of culinary sampling, and as such, is a lot like rap music, with chefs sifting through recipes like a producer digging in the crates. You take a little French technique, some flavor profiles from Southeast Asia, an homage to a famous dish, and a bit of inspiration from your maternal grandmother, then mix that all up with some swag sauce that marks it as your own. Momofuku and Yeezus were built the same way, taking bits and pieces from different sources and weaving them into something novel—maybe you know the source material, maybe you don't, but you're mostly focused on the new sound.
Yet while Kanye is certainly popular, nothing he ever does could possibly be as popular as Glee
mashups. Why? Because that satisfying "Aha" moment that all humans yearn for is instantaneous in a mashup song—as an overt hybrid, it elicits that satisfying "I know this!" feeling, rather than the more complicated, "This kind of reminds me of…". The latter requires some engagement from the listener; the former simple bulldozes its way into your mind and stays there.
At his bakery, Dominique Ansel has a pastry called the Paris New York
, which is his take on the classic French dessert called Paris–Brest, filtered through his love of Snickers Bars. It is every bit as Instagram-worthy as the Cronut, and it is packed with flavors—like peanut butter and salted caramel—that are just as familiar. Yet unless you did a little digging, you might never know any of this. It's the pastry equivalent of a Kanye song that samples a bunch of artists and genres without overtly referencing any of them.
The Cronut, meanwhile, is the Glee cast singing the lyrics to "Start Me Up" to the tune of "Livin' on a Prayer."
You don't need to know anything about cooking or food history or Dominique Ansel's biography to "get" a Cronut, in the same way that you don't need to know anything about music to want to sing and dance to this song: