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PSmith

Your most disliked trend in the food industry.

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Well, I've been a research chemist for several decades. I've even had occasion to do battle with the Patent Offices on several continents (via the corporate lawyers and agents) numerous times. Yet I have little, if any, interest in Modernist Cuisine and especially find those who use it excessively (both chefs and amateurs) to be...excessive. I guess that puts me in the "Jason Perlow camp". :-)

There *are* some who use it sparingly and well. I would include the Voltaggio brothers amongst them. Grant Achatz, I find excessive and off-putting.

I think there is a place for folks like Achatz and other chefs such as Ferran Adria or Jose Andres which pioneer in molecular gastronomy as well as modernism and avant garde cuisine and make mistakes and do the sort of science experiments others do not have the time or resources to undertake. But this is strictly in the realm of very fine dining and a very particular type of fine dining customer that are willing to be guinea pigs for these chefs and are willing to take expensive risks on degustation menus that will not necessarily be home runs with every dish.

That being said this doesn't belong in every fine dining restaurant and most certainly not in the home, and it is ridiculous to think that this is how normal culinarians should practice their art or their passion.

I dont know if I want to exemplify a "camp" per se but I think us traditionalists have been hiding in the closet while the modernists and molecularists have been running amok.

I am also in the "it's ridiculous" camp, but not particularly ardent about it. I'm old enough to have seen a lot of fads and trends come and go, and I've learned that whether one loves whatever the new one is, or despises it, in the end, getting all worked up either way most often turns out to be a waste of time and energy because this, too, shall pass. The best thing is that all of the new acolytes to whatever-it-is usually wind up selecting and retaining the most positive and helpful of the many small bits that make up a new trend. Not much of "modernist cuisine" is of any interest to me (and actually, I'll admit it's really none), but several years from now, parts of it undoubtedly will still be around, and will have proven to be worthwhile enough to have become commonplace. That's when I'll probably embrace them. After the "hobbyists" (because that's what I think they are, and I don't mean that in a derogatory way) have moved on to something else. And I'll be grateful to them for the winnowing process.

You know, it's really just like R&D always is. Some fabulous new something comes out and the trend-setters are all abuzz. Much of it is much ado about nothing. But some of it is deserved ado about something. This current discussion reminds me a lot of the initial flap about microwaves. Some people eschewed the newfangled thing entirely. Some were even fearful about putting food into that mad scientist box and then zapping it with something and then putting into your body. Most were at least skeptical. But, just like today's "Modernists," there were some "modern" and wildly-enthusiastic aficionados that insisted that you could cook absolutely everything in a microwave and that this portended the complete demise of the traditional and old-fashioned stove as we knew it.

And we all know how that turned out.

:cool:

.


Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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You have a selection criterion for friends that involves doing a stocktake of their kitchen?

Oh absolutely. There's a complex application process involved, as well as a six week waiting period while I review all of the appliances and the required stem to stern inventory of their pantry, freezer and wine closet, as well as a four year background check on what restaurants they've eaten at.

Thank you, Jason--first belly laugh of the New Year!


Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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Well, I've been a research chemist for several decades. I've even had occasion to do battle with the Patent Offices on several continents (via the corporate lawyers and agents) numerous times. Yet I have little, if any, interest in Modernist Cuisine and especially find those who use it excessively (both chefs and amateurs) to be...excessive. I guess that puts me in the "Jason Perlow camp". :-)

That being said this doesn't belong in every fine dining restaurant and most certainly not in the home, and it is ridiculous to think that this is how normal culinarians should practice their art or their passion.

I am also in the "it's ridiculous" camp, but not particularly ardent about it. I'm old enough to have seen a lot of fads and trends come and go, and I've learned that whether one loves whatever the new one is, or despises it, in the end, getting all worked up either way most often turns out to be a waste of time and energy because this, too, shall pass. The best thing is that all of the new acolytes to whatever-it-is usually wind up selecting and retaining the most positive and helpful of the many small bits that make up a new trend. Not much of "modernist cuisine" is of any interest to me (and actually, I'll admit it's really none), but several years from now, parts of it undoubtedly will still be around, and will have proven to be worthwhile enough to have become commonplace. That's when I'll probably embrace them. After the "hobbyists" (because that's what I think they are, and I don't mean that in a derogatory way) have moved on to something else. And I'll be grateful to them for the winnowing process..

Just to complete my thought...

I sure don't need a set of "Modernist Cuisine" cookbooks at $500+.

I'm going to wait a few years for "Modernist Cuisine for Dummies" at about $13.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I wish it was just a county or state thing. No, It's a obsession with bacon thing that started in the BBQ community probably five years ago. Now everyone is doing it.

https://www.google.c...chrome&ie=UTF-8

I love bacon. Really really love bacon. But I don't like bacon explosions, it's the ultimate lily gilding over the top "lets see if we can weaponize bacon and be disgusting americans" thing.

I think you would have to use this kind of bacon for this kind of dish:

http://www.lapolicegear.com/cmmg-tac-bacon.html

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We're not going to agree on this Michaela, but that's perfectly ok. Not every argument has to come to an agreement. Or even accommodation.

Heck, I'm just trying to figure out if we were even discussing the same thing!

But that aside, 'bacon explosion'? I'm intrigued. State/county fair sort of thing?

I wish it was just a county or state thing. No, It's a obsession with bacon thing that started in the BBQ community probably five years ago. Now everyone is doing it.

https://www.google.c...chrome&ie=UTF-8

I love bacon. Really really love bacon. But I don't like bacon explosions, it's the ultimate lily gilding over the top "lets see if we can weaponize bacon and be disgusting americans" thing.

I'll bet that'd go great with a nice tater tot casserole!!!!! :laugh:

~Martin :raz:


~Martin :)

"Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse, curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!"

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

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But that aside, 'bacon explosion'? I'm intrigued. State/county fair sort of thing?

I wish it was just a county or state thing. No, It's a obsession with bacon thing that started in the BBQ community probably five years ago. Now everyone is doing it.

https://www.google.c...chrome&ie=UTF-8

I love bacon. Really really love bacon. But I don't like bacon explosions, it's the ultimate lily gilding over the top "lets see if we can weaponize bacon and be disgusting americans" thing.

You really would have loved being at a wedding reception recently featured on the reality show "Four Weddings." One of the brides had a "bacon bar" at her reception.

It's a competition, and one of the losers speculated that the winning bride's "bacon bar is probably what put her over the top."


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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We could give SV more of a '70s feel by calling it "boil-in-the-bag" like we did back then.

:laugh:

Quoted because I think this comment got lost in the other discussions.

I struggle with Sous Vide as I remember boiling minted lamb shanks in the bag to serve as designer pub grub, so mentally I am thinking convenience rather than improvement. Plus I haven't as yet been blown away with the two main courses I ate that were cooked in this way.

When I questioned the reasons for purchasing to one of my friends who bought a SV to use at home, they said that it was due to a concern they had with potential cancer risks on food that is cooked traditionally. :unsure:

However, I have always been a laggard. I have never owned an iPhone and probably never will, preferring to use a cheaper Andriod equivalent that does everything an iPhone does but at a fraction of the cost.

Anyway - back on topic - anyone else bored with the trend of serving meals on anything other than plates. Slate roof tiles are very popular in the UK. :wink:


http://www.thecriticalcouple.co.uk

Latest blog post - Oh my - someone needs a spell checker

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One can come up with all sorts of vehicles for food. I have heard that a naked woman is ideal for Japanese cooking. Seems to be the height of faddishness.

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One can come up with all sorts of vehicles for food. I have heard that a naked woman is ideal for Japanese cooking. Seems to be the height of faddishness.

If that usurps the popularity of the sous vide and modernism threads I might not be so upset.


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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One can come up with all sorts of vehicles for food. I have heard that a naked woman is ideal for Japanese cooking. Seems to be the height of faddishness.

Last year's IACP conference included a demo of just this theory...

IMG_3787.jpg


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

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Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Would a hot tub count as sous vide...

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As a practicing technologist, I am a bit turned off by the overwhelming use of modernism in cuisine. I see cooking as a fairly low tech activity that is meant to be enjoyed to escape the modern trappings I have to deal with on a day to day basis, that is enhanced occasionally by the use of enabling technology when it is warranted -- like the use of high-end BBQ thermometers/thermal control systems or say PID's in espresso machines where precision is required to produce a better end product.

Many of us (myself included) have grown a bit tired of overly precious, whimsical "molecular gastronomy" cooking. I, for one, don't necessarily need to eat another spherified food. It's not clear whether this is what you are talking about when you speak of "modernism in cuisine," however. It seems like you're mostly talking about sous vide tools and techniques.

Everything fundamentally comes down to tools, techniques and ingredients. Inevitably whenever a new tool, technique or ingredient is introduced in the kitchen, there will be those who proclaim that "cooking has lost its soul" and that "cooking is supposed to be a fairly low tech activity." There were undoubtedly people who decried the widespread adoption of natural gas-powered stoves over wood-fired stoves, and of course those who protested the use of stoves instead of hooks over the fireplace, and so on all the way back to Throg the Neanderthal who famously said, "cooking? What, tearing the raw flesh off of a dead animal carcass with your teeth isn't good enough for you?"

The fact that you comfortably endorse advanced technologies in certain culinary areas (viz. barbecue and espresso) but not in others (butter poached lobster) effectively skewers your own complaint. Because there are those who could argue, for example, that barbecuing is a fairly low tech activity that is meant to be enjoyed to escape the modern trappings we have to deal with on a day to day basis. If this is true for them, then it's true for them. But only for them.

It is, of course, a lot easier to make really good barbecue or consistently good espresso if you avail yourselves of these tools and techniques. Meanwhile, certain modernist cooking techniques and technologies make a lot of things easier and more consistent. Just as it became easier to keep a stock just below the simmer for a long time using a gas-powered stove compared to a wood-fired one, it's easier to get a clear and highly extracted stock today using a pressure cooker. And so on. Do you need a sous vide rig to make great butter-poached lobster? Of course not. But it does make it a lot easier to make great butter-poached lobster. I have effectively started cooking all "steak-like" land animal proteins sous vide, because it's just so much easier to get an outstanding result. Some people may like the older ways, and that's cool too. Hey, some people like using a paper map instead of a GPS-enabled device. More power to 'em, I say.

Right now, in food writing and in restaurants, we're seeing a lot of discussion and use and experimentation with these tools and techniques because they have only recently become widely known and affordable. A point of comparison might be the explosion in synthesizer-driven pop music that happened in the early 1980s. A big reason this happened was because the Yamaha DX7 suddenly made having a good synthesizer keyboard reasonable affordable, and so tons of pop musicians started using and experimenting with them. Eventually it just became another tool.

It's also true, however, that the "deeper understanding" part of modernist cuisine can be tremendously helpful even without using any fancy equipment -- although it's unclear whether this is what you're complaining about. Knowing how to make a perfectly smooth cheese sauce using sodium citrate; knowing I can use a tiny touch of xanthan gum to prevent my creamed spinach from weeping, being able to use a bit of liquid lecithin to emulsify rendered turkey fat into a pressure cooked turkey jus instead of making a flour based gravy... these kinds of things have enabled me to make dishes that are far, far superior to the already pretty good examples I was able to produce before I acquired this knowledge.

So if you like throwing your steak on the grill rather than cooking it sous vide, there's nothing wrong with that. That's your choice and I'm sure you have valid reasons that apply to you. But it's a bit contradictory to be railing against certain modern culinary techniques and technologies while taking full advantage of others. You like the techniques and technologies you like and you don't like the ones you don't like. This is true for most people.


--

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I wish it was just a county or state thing. No, It's a obsession with bacon thing that started in the BBQ community probably five years ago. Now everyone is doing it.

https://www.google.c...chrome&ie=UTF-8

I love bacon. Really really love bacon. But I don't like bacon explosions, it's the ultimate lily gilding over the top "lets see if we can weaponize bacon and be disgusting americans" thing.

I think you would have to use this kind of bacon for this kind of dish:

http://www.lapoliceg...-tac-bacon.html

Sure but to truly make it right you need to use transglutaminase on the bacon lattice and then Sous Vide for 100 hrs at 60 C then sear it with a torch , otherwise it just really isn't worth eating.


Edited by Ashen (log)

"Why is the rum always gone?"

Captain Jack Sparrow

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Soft, gummy food with absurd names and intricate decorations and loads of inedible garnishes served at near room temp. Is it modernist, or is it pre-Point?

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I would like a trend away from a trend.

Never thought I'd say that.

ETA: This is not a knock on any of the topics being discussed at length in this thread, but a reaction against a recent NYT article that detailed the next 10 food trends to look forward to in 2013.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/02/dining/after-crispy-pig-ears-10-trends-for-2013.html?ref=dining

Some of them have been around for a while, especially if you live in a place like NYC or SF or LA. Pig tails, fried chicken skin, pork rinds, fermentation, etc. The thing that gets me with "trends" is that eventually it catches on like wildfire and that thing that you liked for its uniqueness is no longer singular because everyone is playing around with it. Sometimes I think, the food media just likes hearing the sound of its voice. Ooo, lookit, this here is cool! To which most people will nod their heads in agreement, like they're sheep or something.

On second thought, maybe it is a knock on sous vide and bacon. But I didn't mean to post that with those two in mind.

Although I still think that bacon has definitely stayed past its welcome.... :raz:

I don't mind modernism at all, mostly because it is not yet mainstream. I don't think you'll be seeing Martha Stewart gush about foam, "sand", "dirt" and "air" anytime soon on her show, to say nothing of memes on Facebook and Twitter about Tard and porcini "dirt". :wink:


Edited by SobaAddict70 (log)

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... I haven't as yet been blown away with the two main courses I ate that were cooked in this way.

...

I've been thinking about this comment.

I'm not sure if it is the case in the UK but you would be very hard pressed not to have had many main courses that had components cooked sous vide in Australian fine dining restaurants. I know from your reviews that you eat out fairly regularly.

One could propose that someone who would label a dish as cooked sous vide is probably new to the process and has not integrated the process into their cooking regime. A consequent lack of practice and recent adoption says to me that they probably would not have had the skill to give you the best version of dishes or may even have used it inappropriately. Thus not being blown away would be a predictable outcome.

I'd venture further that you have had some dishes with elements cooked sous vide and not even known it. You might even have reviewed these dishes positively, again without knowing their provenance. And I actually see this as a good thing. The most important part of a meal is the eating and enjoyment of the finished product, not how it is prepared.


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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I would like a trend away from a trend.

Never thought I'd say that.

ETA: This is not a knock on any of the topics being discussed at length in this thread, but a reaction against a recent NYT article that detailed the next 10 food trends to look forward to in 2013.

http://www.nytimes.c...html?ref=dining

Some of them have been around for a while, especially if you live in a place like NYC or SF or LA. Pig tails, fried chicken skin, pork rinds, fermentation, etc. The thing that gets me with "trends" is that eventually it catches on like wildfire and that thing that you liked for its uniqueness is no longer singular because everyone is playing around with it. Sometimes I think, the food media just likes hearing the sound of its voice. Ooo, lookit, this here is cool! To which most people will nod their heads in agreement, like they're sheep or something.

On second thought, maybe it is a knock on sous vide and bacon. But I didn't mean to post that with those two in mind.

Although I still think that bacon has definitely stayed past its welcome.... :raz:

I don't mind modernism at all, mostly because it is not yet mainstream. I don't think you'll be seeing Martha Stewart gush about foam, "sand", "dirt" and "air" anytime soon on her show, to say nothing of memes on Facebook and Twitter about Tard and porcini "dirt". :wink:

There is actually a lot of good stuff in those so called "new" trends ( many are just revivals ) .. I for one will be happy to see them become mainstream. Everyone should know about the awesomeness that is braised and grilled pig tail.( I am sure I will swear at the screen the first time I see someone going on about SV ing them for blah blah hours at blah blah temp to make the best pig tails. *chuckle*) On the downside it will probably put a much bigger dent in wallet when when everyone wants them, just like when short ribs became the rage.


"Why is the rum always gone?"

Captain Jack Sparrow

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Soft, gummy food with absurd names and intricate decorations and loads of inedible garnishes served at near room temp. Is it modernist, or is it pre-Point?

That's just lousy food, and who wouldn't dislike that? But that can be achieved using virtually any approach or set of techniques, and isn't any more typical or unique to Modernism than, say, the more oversauced schools of traditional French cuisine.


Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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Modernist techniques are a lot like CGI in movies. Everyone rightly decries it when it's done poorly or in poor taste but it's almost certain that it's subtly enhanced something you've eaten before without you noticing which is often it's correct role.


PS: I am a guy.

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Soft, gummy food with absurd names and intricate decorations and loads of inedible garnishes served at near room temp. Is it modernist, or is it pre-Point?

That's just lousy food, and who wouldn't dislike that? But that can be achieved using virtually any approach or set of techniques, and isn't any more typical or unique to Modernism than, say, the more oversauced schools of traditional French cuisine.

My point, I am sorry you missed it.

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Although I still think that bacon has definitely stayed past its welcome.... :raz:

Bacon will always be welcome in my home.

I did think topping a giant pastry with bacon was a bit much (read: County Fair Food).


Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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