Taking Karen Blixen’s short story “Babette’s Feast” (1950) as the starting point of reflection, this article examines the role of culinary pleasure in relation to social and environmental transformations. Combining literary criticism and food studies, the article explores the transformative potential of culinary art both as it is represented in the literary text and as it might affect people in real life. While Blixen in her story makes the case for culinary pleasure as an experience of abundance and extravagance, the article argues that we need to rethink pleasure according to sustainability criteria, including frugal practices. By presenting a method that engages in processes of change by both examining a literary food text and reflecting on a cooking workshop as a speculative exercise on how to create low-impact pleasure, this contribution seeks to introduce an integrated approach to literary criticism, food studies, and socioecological transformation.

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