Showing posts from May, 2007

The Second Level of Molecular Gastronomy - The Why

With all the fuss being made over molecular gastronomy, including whether it is even a technique or style of cooking at all, it was hard to resist dabbling in it myself. Why? Because, obviously, in my decade of cooking for friends and relatives, I've mastered all there is to know about fundamental technique, am in touch with where food comes from having harvested rice, picked apples, slaughtered all manner of livestock, poultry and fish, prepared meals from every ingredient known to mankind, and have a technique for presentation worthy of a show at the Met. Okay, none of that is true. I simply wanted to take a shortcut.

While there are plenty of opinions and commentary on the web and in various blog zones regarding the molecular approach to cooking, there is remarkably little in the way of actual, technical advice and instruction; even those from whom you purchase the ingredients. All seem a bit reluctant to hand over much in the way of useful, technical info.

Xantham Gum for insta…

The first level of molecular gastronomy - making ice cream

As a six-year old, you've begun to understand a few things about the world such as gravity (you know it's there, but not why), wind (handy for various things), walking and presumably talking. Eating is mostly solo activity only requiring occasional parental intervention to open a carton or explain how the hell you eat an artichoke. (They're not really self-explanatory.) It is still a somewhat awkward process as the dexterity for knife and fork requires a bit more practice, slightly stronger (and larger) hands, and a certain tolerance for an intermediary between hand and food. Preparation of food (other than cereal) is largely a mystery usually handled by mom when you're hungry, and occasionally by grandma should you so much as look like you might be thinking about hunger. Grandmothers will usually make you something "just in case".

Of all foods, ice cream is one kids understand implicitly. They know all they need to; it involves cold, sweet, summer, and occasi…

Abalone > How did I miss that?

I've always hated ketchup which may seem odd given its popularity. Not that I am one to hop on the popularity bandwagon, but I love everything else that surrounds ketchup - burgers, fries, and Coke. Where did this odd bias come from? My brother.

For as long as I can remember, he put ketchup on everything; two pieces of bread with ketchup in the middle constituted a "sandwich". He ate ketchup on potato chips, mounds of ketchup on fries, ketchup ketchup ketchup. It didn't help that I already had a distaste for so many foods in this country being sweet; of which the worst offender of all time is "Miracle Whip." If you've ever naively mistaken it for mayonnaise, you know the palate-wrenching horror that ensues. If you haven't imagine oily cake frosting. Yeah, nasty.

In essence, I had 30 years of prejudice against ketchup. I've done just fine in defiance of it, cringing should it wind up in a burger without my knowledge, but I knew that to truly &quo…