About my prompt: “A Vietnamese Thanksgiving Dinner”
So the prompt actually was inspired by a New York Times Cooking video uploaded on YouTube by a NYT Cooking editor – Priya Krishna. Throughout the 30 minute video, she uses Dall-E to generate an entire set of 7 recipes that she later cooks and presents to her fellow editors in the NYT office. In her video, she shared a lot about her preferred flavors, her Indian heritage, and love for spice – and the AI generates some impressive (and even very bad!) recipes for her to cook.
I wanted to see what results I might see if I asked it to interpret my own cross-cultural experience with Thanksgiving. Growing up, I always had a strange spread in a Vietnamese Thanksgiving table – sometimes it’d be duck instead of turkey, hoisin and sweet and sour sauces instead of brown and white gravy, and fried rice instead of stuffing. I was so curious to know “What does an AI think my Thanksgiving dinner should look like as a Vietnamese-American?”
It’s so strange! The “food” generated at first glance seems really familiar – golden brown poultry, greens, grains, sauces, red fruits and chilis. I’m really impressed how the Thanksgiving dinner spread really has some East and Southeast Asian-inspired dishes – an interpretation of a seaweed salad with thai chilis, fried rice, steamed cabbages, banana leaves. But looking deeper, everything is actually non-descript…
Is the golden brown poultry duck? or turkey? Even the shape of the meat seem strange to even match the contours of an actual animal. A lot of the side dishes got a variety of colors and shapes to imply an Asian-ness to it, but I can’t actually be exactly sure what the AI is trying to generate. In a weird way, the AI has gotten the “je ne sais quoi” of my childhood inter-cultural Thanksgiving dinner, but it has missed the mark completely on defining any actual dish.