Part II – Molecular Gastronomy and Cuisine Note by Note
Starting from the idea that you followed our conversation in the last post, we can continue our line of thought without the need for many introductions! If you have not read, access the text here.
So, we concluded in our last conversation, that the Technoemotional Cuisine is not defined within Molecular Gastronomy, since cooks, chefs, confectioners and the like use machines and technologies and even resort to scientists and scholars in order to seek ways to make their ideas, sensitivities and emotions in surprising dishes.
Therefore, the truth is that Molecular Gastronomy was only the starting point for a true revolution in the kitchen. In your way of cooking – of course, and what I like most: in your way of thinking. Think? And cook thinks?
It is my dear… Think, and how you think!
Maybe we should start in the 1980s, when a chemist[[Herve This]and a physicist[[Nicholas Kurti]came together to create a postdoctoral test, which they had a desire to be able to explain physical-chemical phenomena through simplicity [tem certeza?] from the kitchen.
With the Adriá phenomenon, many cooks became interested in the chemical part of the kitchen in order to discover new methods to boost their creativity [a tal da cozinha tecnoemocional que já conversamos]. In that, a new kitchen appeared. No chemistry, nothing molecular nor industrialized – it was, or rather, it is, just a kitchen thought, analyzed, without ever ceasing to be instinctive.
After so many years with a stopped gastronomy, with chefs trying to innovate and create, with little success, here comes the egg at low temperature – or the perfect egg. Egg that united science with chefs eager for knowledge! After all, knowing how to cook an egg at the perfect temperature to the point of leaving it creamy for years is one of the biggest challenges in the kitchen.
Fruit of Molecular Gastronomy, the egg, this food so full of philosophy [afinal, quem veio primeiro? O Ovo cozido ou a Cozinha?] was the center of all then, too, philosophy [porque não?] by Senhor Hervé This, who, in terms, used the study of cooking the perfect egg as a means of dissipating Molecular Gastronomy around the world.
Hervé This is a chemist, who works in Paris, at AgroParisTech, and holds a PhD in Molecular Gastronomy – a term he coined with Nicholas Kurti, a Hungarian physicist, who died in 1998. Through the INRA website you can read some of Mr’s articles This and understand what the guy [permita-me dizer] came into the world to say!
Mr. This entered the world of cooking, or rather, of GASTRONOMY, wishing deeply to give people chemical explanations about … well, excuse the repetition – CHEMISTRY, through the kitchen. And the guy has emotion and a lot of passion when he talks about it.
Basic explanations about French fries are made through Molecular Gastronomy, or because a cake does not grow or because it soles. Because the meat is more delicious when grilled and not when cooked or even because we cry when we cut onions!
Explanations that food chemistry gives us easily, but sometimes in words that are difficult to understand, Molecular Gastronomy makes it more obvious so to speak.
In your book, “Molecular Gastronomy, exploring the Science of flavor”, Hervé This explains all his good intentions with Molecular Gastronomy, dissecting the gastronomy of Brillat Savarin and mixing it with the history of science, Lavoisier and his studies on broths [ou fundos, como chamamos em cozinha] and Parmentier and the study of the flours used for bread production, for example, until then being able to conclude:
“Chemistry and physics, when properly applied, can teach us how to preserve the juiciness of meat. How to master chemical reactions and give that golden peel with irresistible aroma. We can avoid common mistakes when trying to make sauces like mayonnaise or hollandaise sauce, bernaise, and so many others. Science not only guides us but also helps us to exercise our capacities for discoveries and inventions.
Do you think it is enough to read a cookbook? Revenue? Of course not! They are just collections of recipes that reduce cooks to mere performers. Furthermore, they have a series of confusing steps.
Molecular Gastronomy seeks to give practical knowledge through explanations of how some recipes work and what errors can occur and why! ”
One of the best visual explanations I saw Mr. Hervè This make was the chocolate mousse with water. Damn, it’s so obvious but I spent my life trying to avoid it, simply because they told me N times until it stuck in my brain and prevent me from seeing further.
WATER DAMAGES CHOCOLATE.
Why … why the water when I asked “why?” the only answer I had was “you will not be able to use the chocolate”?
Okay, chocolate actually ends up “spoiling” for some common uses. But throw it away?
It was through Science that Mr. Hervé This explained: mousse. Mousse? That! Mousse!
(Click here to learn how to make chocolate mousse with water.)
Chocolate is a fat. Fat and water don’t mix, but they emulsify! Just like mayonnaise – egg and oil. Therefore, if I beat this mixture to the point of reducing the molecules so much until they form a unique system with the naked eye, I will have an emulsion.
Student now asks: Why don’t water and chocolate go together?
Professor replies: Why, dear. The water in contact with the chocolate will prevent it from becoming fluid enough to be melted or tempered, thus preventing good crystallization.
Student says: So if water falls on my chocolate should I throw it away?
Professor says: No! I will explain to you the principle of the emulsion and we will do an experiment so that you better understand what happens with chocolate.
Gastronomy should be like this! More curious teachers, who think outside the box and give their students clearer explanations. That way we can have more sensitive chefs and less breeders! And maybe Brazilian Gastronomy will develop in a more interesting way!
But what does all this have to do with the Technoemotional Cuisine?
The fact is that Mr. This, along with so many other cooks, was filled. Yes, my friends, he was filled with the media, the labels and people not understanding the real reason why he put his little feet and his white coat in the middle of pans, fires and badly looked cooks. Nobody understood … Maybe, not even the cooks understood. And then, he just left the scene. He left the pots for those who understand pots and took refuge again in his INRA, with his students, all his knowledge and wisdom on the subject at the service of anyone interested.
And do you know why it was filled? Because even today people insist on saying that Ferran Adriá does – or did – Molecular Gastronomy. When it is not, it never was and hardly ever will be! Well, I can’t say that anymore, this other boy is being touted by Harvard rooms now. What the…
Molecular gastronomy, therefore, was a scientific study, made by people who understand chemistry, physics, molecules, coy and complicated reactions, to explain in a simplified way – in the best “Chemistry for those who don’t understand Chemistry” style – what yes, again I have to ask for forgiveness for the repetition – CHEMISTRY. What are basic reactions that happen in food. Because the apple gets dark, because cooking green vegetables in water makes them darker. So many “why’s” that we wonder when we live inside a kitchen and often don’t know how to answer, just do it. Either because they told us the right way or until then, we insisted on the wrong, for lack of knowledge.
With Molecular Gastronomy extinct – I am very sorry that it did not enter the timeline of gastronomy alongside the Tecnoemocional Cuisine, but… – Hervé This decided to coin another term to continue his studies on chemistry in the kitchen, which is the Kitchen Note to Note, in which he explains, in detail, everything he explained by Molecular Gastronomy, but now with a term that is perhaps better understood. Whether for you and me, or for a professional cook who has an idea rooted in his head and needs more than a simple recipe to turn his creativity into reality.
What cooks do inside the kitchen is simply, after studying, for example, why an egg can be so perfect if cooked at a controlled temperature, without variations, is to enter the kitchen and produce that perfect egg ray. That simple. No molecular, no equation, nothing, I swear! Only sensitivity, pure and thoughtful!
That’s right, our cook friend doesn’t lose his sensitivity, he doesn’t become a sticky nose [com algumas exceções] and he’s still a good cook just because now he…. THINK!
Part II – Molecular Gastronomy and Cuisine Note by Note