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Old 05-14-2012, 10:27 AM   #1
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Molecular gastronomy

what the hell's all that about?! sardine on toast sorbet,bacon & egg ice cream,foie gras mousse frozen in liquid nitrogen....why would you puree beautiful fresh peas then turn them back into peas by dropping them into a bath of sodium alginate,when,ummm,you could just have beautiful fresh errr peas?
two brilliant young chefs(amongst others) have championed the cause in the uk-simon rogan(michelin star) l'enclume in cumbria & heston blumenthal(3 michelin stars)the fat duck in royal berkshire.
now i'm no luddite & i know progress has to be made in all fields(where WOULD we be without the wheel?!) but is this gastronomy or highly skilled chefs showcasing their skills first & the food second.i mean,c'mon,liquid nitrogen?if i want blisters on me tongue i can think of a few more pleasurable ways of getting them!
right,bomb chucked,what do you think?...ermm,about molecular gastronomy that is.....not,ummm,blistered tongues or bombs that is..............

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Old 05-14-2012, 10:49 AM   #2
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Have you seen the Great British Menu programme? Its gone molecular mad, totally ruined it for me. Yes ok I like a bit of Heston but lets not get carried away. Like you say, what a shame to do such daft things to beautiful british produce!

Stop the sketch its getting silly!
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Old 05-14-2012, 10:57 AM   #3
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Have you seen the Great British Menu programme? Its gone molecular mad, totally ruined it for me. Yes ok I like a bit of Heston but lets not get carried away. Like you say, what a shame to do such daft things to beautiful british produce!

Stop the sketch its getting silly!
one of my fav cooking competition programmes in the bin until they apologise!! johnny mountain(the chef not the weathercaster!) had the right idea.........walk out!
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Old 05-14-2012, 11:44 AM   #4
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It's very much an overly broad term. And we tend to concentrate on the "molecular" term and forget that gastronomy implies gourmet, and in this case, exotic gourmet. In that sense, it is about more or less exotic equipment. Using a rotary evaporator, for instance. And it's often about what's possible AND exotic, like spherification, which is nothing more than applying some chemical and physical principles to produce a heretofore unknown form of food. Those are largely within the realm of commercial cooking and serious amateur experimental cooking.

But one reason it tends to be seen as exotic is that amateur cooking is so often such an exercise in blind recipe following and rote learning. Cooking is applied chemistry and physics, but most home cooks have little notion of what's happening and have little or no basis for confidently departing from tried recipes. How many understand why mashed potatoes get "gluey" and how to avoid it by understanding the nature of cellular starch and the sequence of critical temperature changes that stabilize the encapsulated starch so that it does not become free starch when the potatoes are fully cooked? Not many.

For every exotic technique, there's another plain principle that is just basic kitchen science. This basic kitchen science is readily accessible to any interested cook and applies to common foods. How much better and more versatile could someone cook if they really understood the physical nature of an egg and it components and knew what could be done with them? Something as basic as the two types of proteins in egg whites and which physical treatments uncurl them to good effect for the cook. Or why is 285F a critical temperature for cooks? Or what is actually happening to make the temperature of a sugar solution rise? What do you now about the physics of heat transfer?

When the science of food is understood, new cooking methods become possible. And old ones become more versatile. It's inevitable that when knowledge begets a new cooking idea, it will be tried. And when some like of investigation leads to a technique that has commercial value, it will be developed. But it is nothing more than doing something that isn't likely to happen in the kitchen of the scientifically obtuse cook.

To put it another way, the art of cooking is developing the concept of the finished food. The science of cooking is bringing raw materials to that finish. If you better understand just how those raw materials are brought to various finished states, you can conceive of more finished food forms. Or at least you can conceive of them and actually carry them out with any hope of success beyond blind chance.

The current high visibility of whiz-bang molecular gastronomy folks obscures the fact that it's simply the continuation of the work of their predecessors that was almost entirely about the most common cooking techniques. Knowledge of the chemistry and physic give you the exotic modernist cuisine techniques, but it also gives you a better fruitcake.
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Old 05-14-2012, 11:55 AM   #5
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I fought gastronomy was avin your gastro's orf, .....I'll get my coat
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Old 05-14-2012, 12:11 PM   #6
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Molecular gastronomy has been around for awhile. I have not attempted it at home, but can appreciate the time, thought & creativity that went into planning the dish. Mostly, imho, it's about presentation/plating and combining different flavors. Foam looks pretty on the plate, but wonder how much flavor it imparts.
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Old 05-14-2012, 12:40 PM   #7
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What I've seen on TV, Jose Andres and Ferran Adrea, is fascinating and educational. I'd love the opportunity to experience it but don't see a steady diet of it.
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Old 05-14-2012, 12:45 PM   #8
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I look at it more from the perspective of "food as art". In my opinion, it's been overdone in some circles, and a lot of chefs seem to be getting away from it now, at least where I live.
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Old 05-14-2012, 01:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
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I fought gastronomy was avin your gastro's orf, .....I'll get my coat
Well you have to be careful if you visit a gastromonical observatory lest the moon hitta you eye like a biga pizza pie.

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Old 05-14-2012, 02:18 PM   #10
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We have the #5 rated restaurant in the world near us. I have honestly had better meals at other places. It was good but not even in my top ten.When a chef cooks to impress other chefs sometimes the food gets lost in preperation or plating. You can overthink or overwork food quite easily.
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